Bin Laden Was a Tourist Before He Was a Terrorist - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Bin Laden Was a Tourist Before He Was a Terrorist

Ex-wife says al Qaeda boss brought clan to U.S. in '79

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    Before he was the most-wanted terrorist in the world, Bin Laden took his family to the States for two weeks.

    Long before he became the cave-dwelling Public Enemy No. 1, Osama bin Laden took his wife and kids on a  trip to America, passing through Indiana and then going to California.

    His first wife Najwa detailed the 1979 journey in a book, "Growing Up bin Laden," she wrote with her son. The book hits shelves in October, though the New Yorker released an excerpt in which terror chief's former first lady recounts some American anecdotes.

    "We passed through London before flying to a place I had never heard of, a state in America called Indiana," she wrote.

    In the Hoosier state, Najwa recalls shopping with a friend at an Indianapolis mall and bringing her little tyke to see a doctor when he spiked a fever.

    "Osama arranged for us to see a doctor in Indianapolis," she wrote. "I relaxed after that kindly physician assured us that Abdul Rahman would soon be fine."

    Osama made it to Los Angeles for a week, but the wife and kids couldn't tag along. He was meeting with a man named Abdullah Azzam and probably didn't have time for a stop at Disney Land.

    Surprisingly, Najwa recalls that she and her husband had favorable impressions of the land he later came to view as The Great Satan.

    "I came to believe that Americans were gentle and nice, people easy to deal with.  As far as the country itself goes, my husband and I did not hate America, yet we did not love it."

    The one negative she recalled, was when Osama stared down an American man for gawking at his wife's Saudi garb as they awaited their flight home.

    Still, she wasn't offended and neither was he.

    "That man gave us a good laugh, as it was clear he had no knowledge of veiled women."