ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s ex-wife Saja al-Dulaimi, with whom he had a daughter, wants to live in Europe “in freedom”, she told Swedish daily Expressen in an interview.
“I want to live in a European country, not an Arab country,” said Saja al-Dulaimi.
She was freed several months ago from a Lebanese prison, where she had been held since 2014 with her children on suspicion of links to extremist organisations.
Baghdadi- an ideal father with mysterious personality
In her interview, Dulaimi described Baghdadi, who also had children from an earlier marriage, as “a normal family man” and university professor adored by his offspring. In her interview she added that Baghdadi ‘was great’ and that he was an ‘ideal father’ to his children.
But the two of them did not talk much like the others couples, reason being he had a ‘mysterious personality.’
‘I am not a terrorist, want to live in freedom’
“I’m branded a terrorist but I’m far from all that,” lamented Dulaimi. “I want to live in freedom,” the 28-year-old said, while praising Islamic Sharia law which she said provided “freedom and rights for women”.
Her seven-year-old daughter, Hagar, said she wanted to go to Europe to “study.” A DNA test conducted by Lebanese authorities confirmed she was Baghdadi’s child.
Born into a well-heeled Iraqi family, Dulaimi said she had been married to an Iraqi member of Saddam Hussein’s personal guard. They had twins together. Widowed, she married again in 2008, on the advice of her father.
Baghdadi was at the time fighting in the ranks of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, from which the Islamic State group was born. In 2010, he took over the reins of ISIS. Washington has put a $10-million bounty on his head.
‘How he became the caliph of the most dangerous terrorist organisation in the world is a mystery’
Dulaimi said she left him after just three months of marriage because she ‘wasn’t happy’. She was pregnant with their daughter that time.
“How he could become emir (caliph) of the most dangerous terrorist organisation in the world is a mystery,” she said. “The last conversation we had was in 2009. He asked me if I wanted to come back. But I’d made my decision,” she said. “Where is my guilt? I was married to him in 2008. We’re divorced now,” she said.
Concerned for her daughter’s safety and future Dulaimi said, “She’s the one who now … suffers.” “She has the entire world’s disaster upon her shoulders.”
She has since remarried, to a Palestinian man with whom she also has a child.
With inputs from AFP.