Wife: Bin Laden Loves Gardening, Cars, Jihad

New memoir describes family life in the bin Laden household
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2009 6:30 AM CDT
Al-Qaeda Qaida leader Osama bin Laden talks during a televison interview in Afghanistan, 1998.    (AP Photo, File)
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(Newser) – Osama bin Laden was a tough dad who liked growing corn and sunflowers when he wasn't busy preparing for jihad, his first wife and his fourth son reveal in a memoir to be published this month. Bin Laden loves fast cars and owned a gold Mercedes and a speed boat, but shuns the use of most modern appliances and would beat his children for "showing too many teeth" when laughing, writes Najwa bin Laden, mother of 11 of the al-Qaeda leader's 14 children. She married him when she was 15 and he was 17.

Growing Up bin Laden tells how bin Laden—a math whiz and fluent English speaker —became increasingly radical over the '80s and '90s, forcing his family to spend nights in the desert without shelter to prepare for hard times ahead. He once ordered his children's pet monkey to be run over because "it was not a monkey at all, but was a Jewish person turned into a monkey by the hand of God." Najwa is still married to bin Laden but she says she hasn't spoken to him since the 9/11 attacks and has no idea where he is, notes the Daily Mail.