Bin Laden's son promotes peace at 9/11 iftar

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CAIRO: At the end of a sandy track in the shadow of some of Egypt s lesser-known pyramids, Osama bin Laden s son Omar broke the Ramadan fast on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the name of world peace.

Here, in the desert a few kilometers outside of Cairo, is where Saudi-born Osama s fourth son Omar, 27, and his English wife Zaina have decided to set up a desert farm, a halfway point between their respective homelands.

But having invited a Bedouin tent-full of guests to join their sunset iftar, Zaina, 52, confesses they hadn t realized the date was Sept. 11 – seven years since the 2001 attacks on the US, claimed by her father-in-law.

They thought about having a minute s silence but instead they asked me to say some words for peace in the world, says Suzanne, a friend.

And Omar will be the first to sign the scroll of peace, a petition she hopes will draw a million signatures.

Omar signs the scroll, but tonight there will be no quotes about his father s whereabouts or anything else beyond his new, placid realm of a few hundred square meters of sandy land at the foot of the Abu Sir pyramids.

The couple is wearing traditional Arab gowns for the occasion, relaxed in the middle of a parade of Arab stallions, two cages of guinea fowl and a sitting, grumbling camel.

The fourth of 11 children from his father s first wife and one of reportedly 19 fathered by the world s most wanted man, Omar bears a remarkable resemblance to his father.

He and Zaina recently set up the Al-Mirage horse ranch after Britain rejected Omar s application to move there with Zaina – formerly known as Jane Felix-Browne – because his presence might cause considerable public concern.

Beleaguered by the press since their marriage last year, the couple has now decided to invite a few Cairo-based journalists to their two-storey cream-colored ranch to break the fast and admire the horses, but no interviews.

For the record, Omar said recently that he hasn t spoken to his father since 2000, after he left an Al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan because he didn t want to be involved in killing civilians.

He said of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States that I don t think 9/11 was right personally, but it happened. He condemns the killing of any innocent person.

Omar, on foot, and Zaina, on a camel, guide their small group of guests to the mausoleum at the pyramids of Abu Sir – the site of the forgotten kings of the 5th Dynasty – but will only go on the record about one thing: horses.

I was born with horses, we had them everywhere we went with my father, Omar says, expounding on the subtleties of breeding. You have to make sure you get the right cross, it s like with humans, otherwise you make a mistake.

Despite media attention at the time, Omar and Zaina have frozen plans made earlier this year for a horse race across North Africa to promote peace because of logistical problems.

They will now most likely opt for a ride to the ancient city of Luxor in southern Egypt, while US-led forces continue their hunt for Osama in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan.

That fight and that hunt will continue to go on until he is brought to justice, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said on Wednesday. -AFP

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