Osama bin Laden wanted his children to live peacefully in the West instead of embrace terrorism like their father, the dead Al Qaida leader's brother-in-law said in an interview published Sunday.
Zakaria al-Sadah, the brother of bin Laden's Yemeni fifth wife Amal, told Britain's Sunday Times newspaper that bin Laden believed his children "should not follow him down the road to jihad," AFP reported.
"He told his own children and grandchildren, 'Go to Europe and America and get a good education,'" al-Sadah told the Sunday Times. He said bin Laden told them: "You have to study, live in peace and don't do what I am doing or what I have done."
According to Business Insider, al-Sadah said bin Laden regretted the impact the Sept. 11 terror attacks had on his family, and that he wanted his children to follow in his siblings' footsteps -- some of whom attended Harvard Law School, the University of Southern California and Tufts University.
Al-Sadah said he saw his sister for the first time in November since she was shot in the knee during the Navy SEAL raid that killed bin Laden. He said the three wives and nine children who were in the Pakistan compound at the time have been held for months in a three-room apartment in Islamabad, under heavy guard by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency.
Fox News reported al-Sadah said the women were on a hunger strike to protest their captivity, while the children -- some of whom were bin Laden's children, and others his grandchildren -- were still traumatized after witnessing the raid.
"These children have seen their father killed and they need a caring environment, not a prison -- whatever you think of their father and what he has done," he said.