March 11, 2005 Special Dispatch No. 877

Saudi University Lecturer: My Son's Teacher Was a Terrorist

March 11, 2005
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 877

The Saudi daily Al-Riyadh recently published an article titled "My Son's Teacher Was a Terrorist," by Badria bint Abdallah Al-Bishr, a lecturer in social sciences at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. She described her children's experiences in school following September 11, 2001 and recounted her astonishment at discovering that one of the terrorists in the December 30, 2004 car bombing of the Saudi Interior Ministry in Riyadh had been her son's teacher. The following are excerpts from the article:[1]

"Mother, Did You Know that Osama bin Laden is a Hero"

"One day after the events of September 11, my son, who was then in fifth grade, came in from school. He entered my office as I was reading, [sat down and] crossed his legs, and said to me: 'Mother, did you know that Osama bin Laden is a hero who left the entire world behind him and went to the mountains to fight for the sake of Allah?'

"When he saw my astonishment, he cockily shifted position, confident that he hadn't yet finished surprising me, and asked: 'Mother, why don't we stop [exporting] oil to America so it will surrender to our terms?' [I replied]: 'What grave words you are saying! Watch your mouth!'"

'My Son in Third Grade Drew Two Airplanes Blowing up in the Twin Towers'

"The day after the events of September 11, my other son, then in third grade in elementary school, showed me his charming drawing, the subject of which was: 'Draw the sight of the two airplanes blowing up the twin [towers].' The art teacher was not aware that some of the children had not seen this because [their parents] protect them from harmful sights. But the teacher had a different view, which he did not manage to repress even during art class.

"This happened four years ago, [and] during this time I was angered by instances such as these, which did not stop happening to my children – until the day that we could have anticipated arrived.

"After the [December 2004] attack on the Interior Ministry, the photos and full names of the terrorists were published. During dinner, while I was eating, my son told me that one of the terrorists had been his teacher at school. At that moment, I choked. One of the attackers of the Interior Ministry and [security] forces building was his teacher!!!

"Before the attack, this teacher used to go around my children's classrooms and talk to them. Furthermore, before this incident they would say he was a good man…

"How can a parent protect his children if he sends them to school certain that they are in good hands [but in fact] he doesn't know that one of the terrorists will be his son's teacher?

"If [children] are surrounded like this by the terrorist ideology, whether on the computer screen or in the newspapers, where can fathers take their children to rescue them from those who act with hypocrisy, identify with [the terrorist ideology], justify it, and think that we must first liberate Palestine before we condemn terror?"

"The Terrorist Ideology Was Always Present"

"The terrorist ideology was always present, and we [did] sense it. But we called it by different names, not its [true] name, out of fear that it would be exposed and would destroy us. [This ideology] has taken control of us in full force, and has threatened all who disagree with it – to the point where we have become weak against it…"


[1] Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), February 24, 2005.

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