What do We Know About bin Laden's Six Wives?

The US will soon have access to three of them

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted May 10, 2011 8:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – The US will get its chance to grill Osama bin Laden's three widows. Pakistani government officials have promised access in the near future, a US official tells ABC News. Meanwhile, the Daily Beast rounds up what we know so far about his three widows as well as his estranged and former wives:

  • Najwa Ghanem: Bin Laden's estranged first wife, a Syrian cousin he married as a teenager, bore him 11 children. She fought with her husband frequently, but stayed with him until 2001 when she returned to Syria.
  • Khadija Sharif, aka Umm Ali: Bin Laden married his second wife, nine years his elder and a teacher of Islam, in 1983. She found his lifestyle too trying, and bin Laden allowed a divorce though some say it hurt him deeply.
  • Khairiah Sabar, aka Umm Hamza: She was apparently a child psychology professor from a wealthy family who wanted to marry a "true holy warrior." She was a favorite of bin Laden's because of her commitment to jihad.

  • Siham Sabar, aka Umm Khaled: Another well-educated professor, older than her husband, whose brother was a holy warrior. She married bin Laden in 1987. One friend of bin Laden's says that he married his second, third, and fourth wives because they were spinsters and he expected to be rewarded for the good deed in the afterlife.
  • Unknown: There is little information on the woman bin Laden married in 1994. The relationship was never consummated and was annulled within two days.
  • Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah, aka Amal al-Sabah: His youngest wife and the one injured in the raid on his compound after reportedly rushing the Navy SEALs. She married him in 2000 as a teenager, in a move meant to garner him support with the Yemeni tribes she was a part of.

Osama bin Laden's last wife.
Osama bin Laden's last wife.   (YouTube)
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One is okay, like walking. Two is like riding a bicycle: it’s fast but a little unstable. Three is a tricycle, stable but slow. And when we come to four, ah! This is the ideal. Now you can pass everyone! - Osama bin Laden on wives, as quoted in The Looming Tower, by Lawrence Wright

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