A recent show by the CBC Television network gave us a remarkable insight into the mind of Al Qaeda terrorists. According to Abdurahman Khadr, he worked for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to aid in identifying Al Qaeda members at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Apparently Abdurahman was released from U.S. detention at Guantanamo in return for leading U.S. intelligence forces to his father and associates and offered this portrait of the Khadrs:
- They were an Al Qaeda family whose children were born in Canada but grew up in training camps in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden was counted as a close personal friend.
Dying for a cause is the most direct route to heaven and, according to at least one family member, the Sept. 11 attacks gave the Americans what “they deserve.” These were the frank statements made by the relatives of Canadian Ahmed Said Khadr in last night’s documentary.
They are the latest revelations of a former Scarborough family, who moved to Pakistan to apparently do charity work, and the first direct admission that Khadr, his wife, daughter and four sons supported Al Qaeda.
“(My father) respected (bin Laden) for a person who is standing up for something he believes in, who’s willing to sacrifice for it, who’s doing a lot of good for people who are helping him,” Khadr’s daughter Zaynab told the CBC.
CBC producer Nazim Baksh and reporter Terence McKenna spent two months interviewing the family members here and abroad. The CBC crew also interviewed the eldest Khadr son, Abdullah, 23, still in hiding in Pakistan and mistakenly fingered by the Taliban as the suicide bomber who killed a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan on Jan. 27.
The documentary shed greater light on bin Laden – a man who enjoyed playing volleyball and going horseback riding. “I see him as a very peaceful man,” Abdullah said.
And it further revealed that Ahmed Said Khadr, an Egyptian-born Canadian citizen, was so committed to the cause of terrorism that he would sacrifice his own son. “Three times my father himself tried to convince me to become a suicide bomber,” Abdurahman said. But he refused. “I don’t believe in blowing myself up and killing innocent people.
“A person who was raised to become an Al Qaeda, was raised to become a suicide bomber, was raised to become a bad person and I decided on my own that I did not want to be that … I want to be a good, strong, civilized Muslim,” he told the CBC.
American authorities have described the senior Khadr, who was killed in a battle with the Pakistani military last October, as an Al Qaeda financier. Khadr’s youngest son Abdul Karim was injured in the battle.
When asked about her father’s death and to explain the act of dying for a cause, Zaynab replied: “I’d love to die like that.” She challenged the CBC reporter to ask anyone on the street if they’d rather die fighting or “in bed,” believing that dying while fighting is the way to heaven.
Some of the most direct admissions came from 21-year-old Abdurahman, the only son currently living in Canada, after having been released from American detention in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba late last year. “We are an Al Qaeda family. We had connections to Al Qaeda,” he said.
Abdurahman told a press conference when he returned to Canada last year he had been in an “Al Qaeda-related” training camp for only three months. But in the documentary he said he had spent time between 1992-2003 in camps, learning how to use a variety of weapons.
Abdurahman, who left his grandparents’ Scarborough home Tuesday night when he learned the CBC documentary was being aired, told the Star last night he was happy the “truth” was coming out and that he had been “lying to everyone up until this point.”
According to his CBC interview, Abdurahman started criticizing his father’s beliefs years before he was taken into custody by American authorities. He describes a scene where his family was watching video footage after the September, 2001 attacks: “When I saw the video, I was looking at it you know and everyone was smiling and laughing and I was just looking at it. I saw this person jumping out of the building and I didn’t think it was funny … what was going through that person’s mind,” he said.
“My father said, `What’s your problem?’ and I said `I don’t know. I don’t think this is right and it’s going to cause a lot of trouble … you hit so much people who were in that building.'” Abdurahman said his father responded: “Well they pay taxes and the taxes get guns and guns kill Muslims. We’re hitting (the) American economy and there is collateral damage.”
Abdurahman said he was kicked out of the Al Qaeda training camps. “I was always trouble, not doing my homework, running off, speaking to the Afghans … I was trouble for them.”
Khadr’s wife Maha Elsamna, interviewed in a home near Islamabad, said her Palestinian upbringing influenced her views on the U.S., who she said, support only Israel. Her daughter Zaynab, whose wedding bin Laden attended on Sept.9, 1999, added that fighting the American government sometimes involved taking innocent lives. “He really wanted to hit the American government where it will hurt it. Not the people, but it. But I mean sometimes innocent people pay the price. They deserve it. They’ve been doing it for such a long time why shouldn’t they feel it once in a while,” she said. Omar, Khadr’s second youngest son, is still being detained in Guantanamo Bay, accused of killing an American soldier.