by Khaled Abu Toameh
Those who say they were surprised that Osama bin Laden had been leading a relatively comfortable life in his mansion in an affluent suburb in Pakistan obviously don't know anything about the leaders of Islamic terror groups.
The fact that bin Laden was surrounded by women and children also should not come as a surprise to anyone -- nor should the reports that his men and he used some of the women as "human shields" during the US military raid on his compound..
In this regard, bin Laden was doing what many other Muslim terror operatives used to do in Afghanistan, Iraq and the West Bank and Gaza Strip:
These operatives are good at sending anyone but their own family members to murder "infidels," "apostates" and any Arab or Muslim who dares to stand up to them.
Bin Laden chose to live a good life surrounded by women, children and couriers who provided him with everything he needed. Like the rest of the terror leaders, bin Laden never sent any of his sons on jihad missions. He always made sure that his wives and sons and daughters stayed safe and happy.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders used to send young Palestinians to carry out suicide bombings against Israel. Of course their sons and daughters were never part of these terror missions. Their spoiled sons and daughters were instead sent to fine universities around the world to complete their studies and lead comfortable and safe lives.
During the second Palestinian intifada, however, Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders dispatched dozens of young men and women to launch suicide attacks against Israel. Not one of the suicide bombers was the son or daughter of a top leaders
In one documented case, the wife of a slain Hamas leader, in a recorded phone conversation, is heard voicing her fierce opposition to her son's involvement in terror attacks.
The wife, Um Mohammed Rantisi, was contacted by a Hamas activist who called to inquire about her son after he failed to show up in a local mosque.
Um Mohammed responded – according to the script of the conversation – that her son was fine, but was too busy to go to the mosque because he was studying for exams.
"My son is not involved in these things and is busy with his studies," she added.
The activist responded: "I cannot understand how a woman like you would turn down our request and not respond to a call to continue the jihad against Zionism."
In another case, a top Islamic Jihad operative, wanted by Israel for a series of suicide bombings, tried to hide behind his Ukrainian wife when Israeli soldiers stormed his hideout.
Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi, the slain leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, reported to have had at least three wives while he was committing atrocities against Iraqis, Americans and other Westerners; and is said to have married his second wife, Israa, when she was only 13. In June 2006 the "child bride" Israa was killed along with her husband in a US airstrike.
Bin Laden's compound also included a number of women, and his youngest wife was apparently shot in the leg; she was apparently given to him as a "gift" by a Yemeni tribe when she was only 15 years old.
It would be interesting to see if any of the wives of all these jihadists terror leaders knew that bin Laden, in a political will published about a decade ago, urged Muslim women to avoid make-up lest they look like "Western whores."
This is the nature of the coward Muslim terror leaders; they do not hesitate to hide behind women and children and often choose to live in mansions instead of joining their men in the caves and mountains.
And they will always make sure that their family members and loved ones remain safe and far from any danger. That is why no one should be surprised that bin Laden was hiding in a mansion while his followers were sleeping in caves and valleys in Afghanistan, Yemen and Iraq.
Khaled Abu Toameh
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