Terrorism

Coming to America

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Via The New Yorker comes final confirmation that Osama bin Laden has actually visited the United States in the past. It was a mellow trip undertaken in 1979, hitting all of the Great White Satan's hot spots—including, of course, Indianapolis.

The tale comes mostly from his first wife, Najwa, who recounts one particular encounter with vintage American culture shock:

There was one incident that reminded me that some Americans are unaware of other cultures. When the time came for us to leave America, Osama and I, along with our two boys, waited for our departure at the airport in Indiana. I was sitting quietly in my chair, relaxing, grateful that our boys were quiet….

I saw an American man gawking at me. I knew without asking that his unwelcome attention had been snagged by my black Saudi costume…

I took a side glance at Osama and saw that he was intently studying the curious man. I knew that my husband would never allow the man to approach me…

The New Yorker's Steve Coll admirably resists the urge to conclude that this awkward moment (which, I imagine, is common for Muslim men carting burqa- or hijab-clad wives around in fly-over states) is, like, so important to understanding bin Laden's mind:

Not a particularly consequential experience, perhaps, but surely one that has a life in Osama's memory and imagination—and another indication, among many available in his life, that he should be understood not only as a self-isolating radical imbued with millenarian religious narratives, but also as a modern and globalized figure whose experiences and outlook belong very much to our age.

To the unknown, uncouth fellow who looked askance at Mrs. bin Laden that one time 30 years ago in Indianapolis: Thanks.

(One more bit of crazy bin Laden family trivia: Osama's niece Wafah Dufour did a spread in GQ and is both Ivy-League educated and smokin' hot.)

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  1. “Osama’s niece Wafah Dufour did a spread in GQ and is both Ivy-League educated and smokin’ hot.) ”
    Ivy-League don’t impress me much. But smokin’ hot – Yup!

  2. A friend and I visited Lo Wu in the New Territories, Hong Kong in the seventies. We got as close to the Red Chinese border as possible, got thirsty and stopped at a little roadside restaurant for a coke.

    Two cute as a button little Chinese kids would stick their heads around the corner, point at us and laugh, then disappear again. We figgered they just weren’t used to seeing roundeyes in Lo Wu and their behavior somewhat humorous.

    We never once thought to wage war against evil Chinesae civilization.

    Bin Laden may be the only person who was more fucked up in the head than Michael Jackson around the turn of the century.

  3. Yes, it’s perfectly normal to wrap up women in Hefty bags.

  4. Yes, it’s perfectly normal to wrap up women in Hefty bags.

    Yes, yes it is.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_5GXwbzuy0

  5. To the unknown, uncouth fellow who looked askance at Mrs. bin Laden that one time 30 years ago in Indianapolis: Thanks.

    Might his name be Dwayne Schneider?

  6. The only reason Bin Laden planned those attacks is because he wanted to try and take out Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly are behind the oppression of the Palestians by those warmongering, murdering jews and they are also responsible for the desecration of Saudi Arabia by the Great Satan.

  7. Bin Laden doesn’t want to see Arabia absorbed by modern culture: consumerism, vapidity, loose morals, and an ethic of convenience.

    He may have a point. In terms of history, our modern American society is but an infant. In 100 years, he may be considered a prophet and all of us will be viewed as the poor saps who followed a losing horse.

  8. Hey everyone, Neil’s back!

  9. The only reason Bin Laden planned those attacks is because he wanted to try and take out Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly are behind the oppression of the Palestians by those warmongering, murdering jews and they are also responsible for the desecration of Saudi Arabia by the Great Satan.

    D- for the rant, trollerboy; doesn’t sound enough like something from LewRockwell.com yet.

    And that’s “j00s” you’re attacking, it’s supposed to be “da j00s” who’re oppressing those squatting Islamonazi Jordanian terrorists in Israel; you’re not spelling it right!

    “It was da j00s! Da j00s took all the money! They have the money hidden in some sort of j00 cave somewhere!”

  10. Actually, taking mortal offense where absolutely none was intended shows that Bin Laden is more in tune with modern American culture than we give him credit for. Did he buy cheap airline tickets? If so, maybe he got pissed off when someone referred to him as “niggardly.”

  11. Don’t worry. Brett has the Lew Rockwell material covered.

  12. Who among us will be so uncouth as to say, “Looking at the niece must make any red-blooded American man wish he had twin towers!”

    Come on now, somebody, say it! Tap, tap, tap…

  13. from the GQ article:

    “the bin Laden taint” !

  14. which, I imagine, is common for Muslim men carting burqa- or hijab-clad wives around in fly-over states

    Why just “fly-over” states?

  15. Why is it always incumbent upon Americans/Westerners to be “aware” of “other cultures”? Don’t those other cultures have some responsibility to be aware of our customs/habits and understand that certain of their doings may appear (initially at least) strange to us?

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