Bearing a striking resemblance to his father, Omar bin laden, 26, has been speaking out to the international press, saying that he wants to be an ‘ambassador for peace’ between Muslims and the West.
Omar-one of bin Laden’s 19 children–is convinced that a truce between the West and al Qaeda is possible.
He said he plans to have a 3,000 mile horse race across North Africa to draw attention to the cause for peace.
“It’s about changing the ideas of the Western mind,” Omar said. “A lot of people think Arabs–especially the bin Ladens, the sons of Osama-are all terrorists. This is not the truth,” Omar told the Associated Press last week.
Omar lived with his father in the Sudan then moved with him to Afghanistan in 1996. He trained in an al Queda camp but left his father and moved to Saudi Arabia seven years ago.
“I don’t want to be in that situation just to fight,” said Omar. “I like to find another way and this other way me be like we do now, talking,” he said.
Omar said he hasn’t seen or been in contact with his father since leaving Afghanistan. “He doesn’t have and-mail,” Omar told news sources. “He doesn’t take a telephone…if he had something like this they will find him through satellites.”
Osama bin Laden, who is believed to be hiding in the Pakistan-Afghan border region, offered a truce to Europe in a 2004 audiotape and a conditional truce to the United States in a 2006 message. In November, he called on European nations to pull out of Afghanistan in a message seen by some observers as an effort to reach out to Europe.
But conflicting messages have been reaching the news media since last fall, where the al Qaeda leader has been calling for Muslims to rally around jihad, or “holy war,” encouraging fighters in Iraq in particular to continue their battles with U. S. and Iraqi forces.
Since parting from his father, Omar has lived in Saudi Arabia, where he runs a contracting company. He spends most of his time in Egypt.
Omar, who married a 52-year-old British woman last year, Jane Felilx-Browne, said that he and his wife are planning an endurance horse race across North Africa, which they hope to start in March. The horse race is still in the planning stages–they are seeking approval of governments along the route and need sponsors to help pay for the event and raise money for child victims of war.
Omar said they plan to ride 30 miles a day, with periodic weekly long rests in each country.