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HKS Authors

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Abstract

This week, a Pakistani court sentenced the three widows of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden to 45 days in prison for immigration offenses. It may seem mild, insulting, even shameful to his many victims worldwide. But the long-term benefits are immeasurable. The bin Laden clan should not be made into figures of sympathy, forced to serve endless prison sentences. They may carry his name, but they cannot be allowed to carry his legacy of martyrdom. Simply, the family must be made irrelevant. The movement their patriarch led is in search of inspiration and influence. His widows and children are ideal magnets to help unify the tattered forces of Al Qaeda. The best attitude now toward this whole lot is one big yawn. It will take a large dose of magnanimity, but it is worth it.

Citation

Kayyem, Juliette. "Don’t Let bin Laden Family Become Martyrs." Boston Globe, April 5, 2012.