A LADEN WITH AN ATTITUDE
Wafah Dufour, aka Wafah bin Laden
Osama bin Laden's niece Wafah Dufour emerges from the ruins of the World Trade Center.
Wafah Dufour, niece of Osama bin Laden is a victim of the September 11 attacks. How?
Wafah, daughter of Osama's half-brother was born in California to Arab parents settled in US. She lived a reasonably satisfying life, till the high priest of Islamic terrorism decided to bomb the twin towers.
Till 9/11, Wafah Dufour was Wafah bin Laden. She had grown up in the US, and had learned to memorise the Koran by the time she was 10. She has never worn a veil, though she remembers her mother wearing one.
Her parents left for Switzerland when Wafah Dufour was very young. She grew up in an all-girls school. Wafah knew that OSama bin Laden was in the crosshairs of American intelligence, but never met him in person. Wafah Dufour recollects that she has heard people speaking ill about him, but she herself does not have any soft feelings for him.
Wafah Dufour's father Yeslam is the half-brother of Osama bin Laden. Yeslam and Osama are among the 54 children of Mohammed bin Laden, who was a leading construction magnate in Saudi Arabia.
Things changed completely after 9/11. Wafah Dufour went into depression and stayed home for six months. She refused to meet people. Her family in Geneva used to get death threats from anonymous callers.
Wafah Dufour's fortunes took a turn for the worse. The bin Laden surname was becoming a stone around her neck. Wafah had some job offers at the time of the attack, all of which vanished after the towers came crashing down. Despite having a masters degree in Law, Wafah Dufour found that there were no jobs for her in the Land of the Free.
When the twin towers came crashig down, Wafah Dufour was a student of New York's Columbia Law School. But when the attack actually occurred, Wafah was in Switzerland visiting her mother. She said she was both concerned and ashamed about what people would think of them. New York, she says, was her home all her life.
Which is when she decided to change track. Being associated with Osama
Bin Laden, even if only in surname, was asking for trouble - though
that's not the way she puts it. Wafah dropped her bin Laden surname and adopted her mother's surname Dufour. She decided to switch to singing and modelling, which is how she finally appeard in GQ magazine, and became the talk of the town.
The latest issue of GQ features Wafah Dufour based on an interview with her accompanied by some, well, un-Islamic pictures. Wafah Dufour models in lingerie and skimpy nothings, appearing in a bath tub. She poses with a feather boa, wearing stilettoes and holding a wine glass.
There are no nude shots, though. However, the revealing photos are enough to raise the hackles of Islamic fundamentalists.
Wahabi Islamic laws mandate that women wear veil in public, and Osama
bin Laden himself is a major proponent of the Wahabi brand of Islam.
Though she hates to be assocated with the Osama bin Laden name, it is clear that the dreaded connection has raised the curiosity factor. She says that there are about 400 people related to bin Laden and many of them don't even know each other.
Ironically, bin Laden surname which effectively spiked her career may give her a leg-up in Wafah's singing-modelling career. If the GQ photo-shoots are anything to go by, she has a good career ahead, in modelling if not singing. Says Wafah: "I think that in music, talent is the most important thing. If I don't have talent, well, I'll never go anywhere." Way to go, Wafah Dufour!