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Rahma Hugira

Hugira is a Yemeni journalist who writes for The Yemen Daily. After she interviewed seven Al Qaeda suspects in prison, she became sympathetic to their cause. She tells FRONTLINE that Muslims view U.S. policies in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine as personal attacks. She wrote an essay, "The United States and Us--Who is Attacking Whom?" for FRONTLINE, in which she pleads, "Refrain from sending your sons to kill us in our homelands and loot our resources, so that our sons do not come to you in search of revenge." This interview was conducted on Oct. 10, 2002.


Rahma Hugira photo
Rahma Hugira photo

... What do you think when you see and hear Osama bin Laden speak?

Osama bin Laden is a Muslim. And in our religion, we must respect the other Muslims. There are six rights to the Muslims to help them if they need. Osama bin Laden have a mistake, maybe, because I want Osama bin Laden stop kill the women and the children.

But and in general, I love him. Too much. And also my son love him. Because he's a Muslim. ... But maybe he have a mistake. But when our religion, when the man, when the person make any things to Allah, Allah give him a good. He's a good. If have a mistake, he's have one degree. Maybe, for example, Osama bin Laden do all things in order to Allah, because he said the Americans kill the Muslims. So he to revenge.

And he's justified?

Yes.

If I were to tell you that I was going to join Al Qaeda and return to the United States to attack American targets, perhaps military targets, government targets, what would you say to me?

If you go to America to attack women and the children, I will say no. ...

You'll be a member of Al Qaeda? You would join it, right?

If you understand if I want to be a member in Al Qaeda, no. I want to say Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, have mistakes. But they are reaction.

They are a reaction?

If I want to say, "The Al Qaeda, you are a bad," first I must say to America, "You are a bad."

Why is America bad?

Because they kill us. Osama bin Laden say five person -- each persons Americans say to kill them to OK, you must attack the Iraq. So they will dead. They must dead. Because they want other is a dead.

What do you say to the Americans who support the war in Iraq and who support Israel? What do you say to them?

I see Americans kill the Muslims in Iraq, kill the Muslims in Palestinian, kill the Muslims in Sudan, in Libya.

To America?

Yes.

How the Americans people want to live in peace, in safe, when they send their sons to kill us? How the Americans people want to live without war, and they sent their sons to make a war in our country? If they want sleep in safe, you know--

Safely? With security?

If they want sleep safely, we must also sleep safely. How they want [to sleep] safely and they send their sons to kill us in our country? You know, what's the meaning?

I know what you mean.

The Americans kill us, so there's some Muslims people revenge in Sept. 11. If there are Americans people want to live in peace, maybe also I want to live in peace. I never want my son is dead or killed, also like any Americans. So they must say to their administration, "Stop the war. Enough the war." They must say to their sons who come to kill us in our country, "Stop. Don't go to kill the other," if they want [to] live safely. Maybe there the reasons.

And if they don't? If they don't?

I must revenge, revenge. I must revenge. My children ask me, he always asking me, "Mama, the Americans kill us. OK, the Americans support Israel to kill us. Why?" It's why when Osama to revenge, Sheik Osama bin Laden to revenge. It's a bad. He revenge because they kill us. We must to kill them.

How old is your son?

Seven years old. He always cry when see the Muslims in Palestinian or the human right in Palestinian. He want to become like Osama bin Laden. He want to kill the Israel and kill any American support Israel.

Please, you must say to Americans people, also we hate the war. We didn't want the war, but they must stop war [against] us. They stop the attack the Iraq, if they want us to stop. ...

If things don't change -- based on what you say, would you be willing to join Al Qaeda?

Yes. Yes. Maybe now I can help them in what in any way. But I refuse kill the children and women, because also I have a children. Also I am a woman. But if America attacks Iraq, maybe Al Qaeda will have a lot of members in Arab and in Muslims people.

I read in Turkey, some people say, "Oh, we love Osama bin Laden." And there was one member of Al Qaeda, he told them, "If you want to help Al Qaeda, come." They come with him and they make some things against the America in Turkey. I didn't remember.

But there are a many peoples want to help Al Qaeda, especially if they attack Iraq. What can I do? I see Americans kill the Muslims in Iraq, kill the Muslims in Palestinian, kill the Muslims in Sudan, in Libya. I will to revenge, even to this. Maybe Al Qaeda refuse if I request to help them. Maybe they will refuse because they will say, "You are a women. You must grow your children. You must live near the children. How will you grow us Osama bin Laden?" But they didn't allow me to attack. But today, I wrote article. I wrote, "I hope to bomb myself suicide--"

To be a suicide bomber?

Suicide in any military Americans in Yemen, for example. But I think I must bomb our president, suicide our presidents. I want to give this cover to our presidents and to fight with America, because they can't--

To fight against America?

Fight against to America. But I fight, I must give our president to we must to take our president out our countries.

You must have a revolution?

They must leave, yes. They must live in America -- not here. And we need to a good Muslims, a good persons to take the authorities to advance in Islam. So if United States attack the Iraq, maybe I will do more with something Al Qaeda.

[Editor's Note: For more, read "The United States and Us: Who is Attacking Whom?" an essay Rahma Hugira wrote for FRONTLINE.]

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