1,013. 3/22/1997

In an interview conducted by journalist Peter Bergen on March 22, 1997, Osama bin Laden said: ” ‘They [the Saudi government] sent me my mother, my uncle, and my brothers in almost nine visits to Khartoum asking me to stop and return to Arabia to apologize to [Saudi] King Fahd. I apologized to my family kindly because I know that they were driven by force to come to talk to me. I refused to go back. [My family] conveyed the Saudi government’s message that if you do not go back, they’ll freeze all my assets, deprive me of my citizenship, my passport, my Saudi ID and distort my picture in the Saudi and foreign media. They think that a Muslim may bargain on his religion. I said to them *Do whatever you may wish. It is with Allah’s bounty, we refuse to go back. We are living with dignity and honor for which we thank Allah. It is much better for us to live under a tree here on these mountains than to live in palaces in the most sacred land to Allah.* ‘ ”

 – Peter Bergen, The Osama bin Laden I Know, Pages 151-152

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