Offspring of bin Laden mentor were on ‘Mavi Marmari’

A grandson of Sheikh Abdullah Yusuf Azzam will join the next convoy to Gaza.

June 4, 2010 05:09
2 minute read.
Palestinian flags wave in Gaza port, foreground, a

Gaza Flotilla 311. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Among the activists who were onboard the Gaza aid ships were the grandson and son-in-law of Sheikh Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, a Palestinian teacher and mentor of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, Palestinian sources revealed on Thursday.

The 19-year-old grandson, Muhammad, was accompanied by his father, Abdullah Anas, who is married to the sheikh’s daughter, Summaya, the sources said.

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Another grandson, Ahmed, 17, is planning to join the next aid convoy to the Gaza Strip.

Azzam, who was born in a small village near Jenin in 1941, traveled throughout the Middle East, Europe and North America in the 1980s to raise money and preach about jihad.

In one speech in Brooklyn, Azzam urged his followers to wage jihad in the US. He explained that jihad “means fighting only, fighting with the sword.”

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, Azzam issued a fatwa declaring that both the Palestinian and Afghan struggles were jihads in which killing occupiers of one’s land was fard ayn [a personal obligation] for all Muslims.

He later convinced his friend and long-time associate, bin Laden, to come to Afghanistan and join the jihad.

Azzam’s trademark slogan was “Jihad and the rifle alone: no negotiations, no conferences and no dialogues.” He was killed by a bomb blast in his car in , Peshawar, Pakistan, in 1989.

His daughter, who lives in London, said she was proud to be raising her children in the path of their grandfather.

She said she had been following news of the aid ships from the day they began their journey to the Gaza Strip. She said she was in direct and constant contact with her son and husband from the moment they left home to join the convoy.

She plans to send her younger son, Ahmed, on the next flotilla.

She said that her husband phoned her on Monday evening from the the Mavi Marmari Turkish passenger ship to inform her that he and Muhammad had not been hurt in the confrontation between IDF soldiers and some of the activists.

“I felt very calm after the phone conversation,” the mother was quoted by the Safa news agency as saying. “I had expected my husband and son to be either martyred or wounded.”

Summaya added: I was prepared to “sacrifice myself and my five sons as martyrs for the sake of Allah. This is not much and we will give until the last drop of blood.”

Summaya said that her father, who is believed to have had huge impact on fundamentalist Islamic groups such as al-Qaida and Islamic Jihad, wanted his children and grandchildren to be raised on the teachings of Islam and jihad.

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