Before his death, Osama bin Laden told his children to “go live peacefully in the West and pursue a university education,” his brother-in-law told the London Sunday Times.
The slain al-Qaida chief wanted his children to pursue a better life outside the Middle East, even though they would eventually adopt Western ways. He believed his kids “should not follow him down the road to jihad,” according to Zakaria al-Sadah, the brother of bin Laden’s fifth wife.
Al-Sadah said bin Laden told them: “You have to study, live in peace and don’t do what I am doing or what I have done.”
“He told his own children and grandchildren, ‘Go to Europe and America and get a good education,’” al-Sadah explained to the newspaper.
In May 2011 Bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy SEALS inside a residential compound in northwest Pakistan. He had been living there for several years with his two sons, a daughter, two grandsons and a granddaughter.
Al-Sadah told the Sunday Times that the children were “traumatized after seeing the raid in which bin Laden died.”
Reportedly the three wives and nine children who were in the compound during the raid have been held for months in a flat outside of Islamabad.
“These children have seen their father killed and they need a caring environment, not a prison — whatever you think of their father and what he has done,” al-Sadah insisted.