Following are excerpts from an interview with Fares bin Hizam, a Saudi expert on Al-Qaeda, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on May 8, 2011:
Interviewer: The image of Bin Laden as a hero was generated by the notion that he was living in valleys and caves. Even the pursuit was conducted in these rugged areas. Now it transpires that he was living in a house in the city, in a nice area, with three wives and ten children. What was behind the image of Bin Laden leading a life of poverty, even of asceticism?
Fares bin Hizam: True, the image of Osama Bin Laden among Arab youth was a man who turned his back to the material world and all his money, and who went to live in caves, raising the lofty slogans of the struggle. The young people who believe in and support Osama Bin Laden must be confused when they see a man living with his family and children, while the children of other people are being slaughtered, and young Saudis and other are sent on difficult missions in the valleys – places where Osama Bin Laden did not send his own sons.
All the sons of Osama who are out of Pakistan lead a life of luxury, and those who are in Pakistan were never sent to the battlefront, even though there is a battlefront in Afghanistan. He kept all his sons at home, next to him.