Zaynab Khadr
Zaynab Khadr
The eldest child of the Khadr family, Zaynab Khadr was born in Canada to Maha el-Samnah and Ahmed Khadr. Following the 1992 injury that left Ahmed disabled, Zaynab became a "second mother" to the younger children. She has since been a stalwart defender of the family's legal rights to remain in Canada, and for her imprisoned brothers Abdullah and Omar.
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  • 2016
    Age 37
    According to a January 2016 report from Michelle Shephard and Peter Edwards, in the Toronto Star, Zaynab left Canada, for Turkey, in 2012, shortly after her brother Omar was returned to Canada, to finish out his sentence.
    More Details Hide Details They reported that she married again, for a fourth time, and bore two more children. They reported that they had learned she was being held in Turkey. They noted that Turkey had been criticized by human rights workers for holding tens of thousands individuals, without charge. They noted that they didn't know why she was being held, whether it was over a criminal concern, or an immigration matter; and they didn't know whether she had been formally charged, or was being held in extrajudicial detention. The National Post reported Turkish diplomats, in Ottawa, would not comment on her case.
    On January 31, 2016, Michelle Shephard and Peter Edwards, writing in the Toronto Star, reported that Zaynab had been apprehended, in Turkey.
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  • 2012
    Age 33
    Her brother Omar Khadr was released to Canadian custody at the end of 2012.
    More Details Hide Details In 2014 he was moved to a medium-security prison.
  • 2008
    Age 29
    In October 2008, Zaynab began an 18-day hunger strike on Parliament Hill, where she hoped to draw attention to the government's inaction in bringing her brother Abdurahman back to face trial in Canada.
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  • 2006
    Age 27
    Most news stories reported only that she had supported the attacks, mobilizing public sentiment against the family. Zaynab has worked to arrange legal support for other Canadians accused of militant actions in the war on terror, notably attending the bail hearings and preliminaries for the men and youths arrested in Toronto in 2006.
    More Details Hide Details Her presence has caused a stir in the media, while she maintains that many of the accused were friends of the family. In July 2008 clips from secret surveillance recordings at Guantanamo of Omar's first visit from Canadian officials were made public. The clips stirred controversy, as they showed Omar being pleased, when he thought he was finally going to get help from Canadian officials; and they showed him weeping uncontrollably when he realized these Canadian officials were security officials, interested only in helping the CIA exploit him as an intelligence source. Global TV interviewed Zaynab and her mother who described being "devastated" by Omar's distress.
  • 2005
    Age 26
    Although her passport had been revoked by the Canadian High Commission in Pakistan after her father was alleged to be a terrorist, Khadr returned to Canada on February 17, 2005 to be with her mother, and help the legal defence teams of her brothers Abdullah and Omar.
    More Details Hide Details Zaynab and her widowed mother Maha are both on passport "control" lists, meaning they will no longer be issued Canadian passports. This is due to the frequency with which they have reported losing their passports since 1999. When Zaynab returned to Canada, security officials, including Konrad Shourie, met her at the airport bearing a search warrant. It was based on the statement that she "has willingly participated and contributed both directly and indirectly towards enhancing the ability of Al Qaeda." They seized her laptop, DVDs, audiocassettes, diary and other files. The security officials said that, through the computer files, they were able to determine the present locations of multiple al-Qaeda veterans, though they had no evidence to charge her. Zaynab said she had purchased the computer second-hand seven months before her trip. After the expiry of the three-month limit on holding the items, the court granted the RCMP a one-year extension on June 18.
  • 2004
    Age 25
    In 2004, Zaynab appeared in a PBS Frontline documentary entitled Son of al Qaeda, during which she said concerning the September 11th attacks:
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    In her book Wanted Women Deborah Scroggins describes meeting Zaynab while she was a house-guest of Khalid Khawaja, in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 2004.
    More Details Hide Details According to Scroggins, Zaynab told her that the time she lived under the Taliban were "the best five years of my life."
  • 2003
    Age 24
    Her father was killed in October 2003.
    More Details Hide Details Zaynab moved to Islamabad, where she lived for some time in a rented apartment with her daughter and younger sister.
    In 2003, Zaynab, her daughter and her mother stayed at a house in Birmal, Pakistan for two days, before their hosts grew wary of American jets overhead.
    More Details Hide Details They moved further into the mountains of Waziristan.
  • 2002
    Age 23
    In January 2002, Zaynab took Safia and Abdulkareem to Lahore for a stay at the hospital, where her daughter needed medical attention.
    More Details Hide Details Her brother Abdullah later joined them, since he required surgery to remove cartilage from his nose. He disappeared later that year, as did their younger brother Omar, not yet 16; she learned later that they were both being detained by the United States as enemy combatants at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
  • 2001
    Age 22
    In late 2001, Ahmed Khadr encountered al-Bahr in Kabul; he advised him that he should either return to his wife and daughter, or consent to a divorce.
    More Details Hide Details After receiving written reassurance from Zaynab that she would not seek any form of restitution, al-Bahr agreed to a formal divorce.
  • 1999
    Age 20
    In 1999, Zaynab was introduced to Yacoub al-Bahr, a Yemeni who had fought in Bosnia.
    More Details Hide Details He was better-known as a wedding singer in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her father asked the boys of the family to vote on whether he should give his consent to the marriage, and did so after Abdurahman and Kareem voiced their enthusiasm; the younger Abdullah and Omar abstained. The wedding was in Kabul. Both al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden attended. Zaynab later explained that nobody was individually invited, and that word of mouth informed interested parties about the open invitation to their upcoming wedding. The couple moved into a separate wing of the Khadr household. The following year, Zaynab and her mother returned to Canada for several months late in her pregnancy, where she gave birth to a daughter, named Safia. After returning to Afghanistan and introducing her new child to Rabiyah Hutchinson, Zaynab was advised to take her daughter to a doctor. Safia was diagnosed with hydrocephalus and required surgery, which Zaynab decided would be better performed at a Canadian hospital. Her husband disagreed, and insisted that a hospital in Lahore would be just as effective. When Zaynab insisted on taking her daughter to Canada, al-Bahr separated from her and left the household permanently.
  • 1997
    Age 18
    In October 1997, Abdullah re-surfaced in Tehran and contacted the Khadr family to re-schedule the wedding.
    More Details Hide Details Khadr agreed to take his family on a long vacation, which they ended in Iran. They said farewell to Zaynab, by then reluctant, as she started a new life with Abdullah. Six months after the couple began living in a rented Tehran apartment, Abdullah phoned his father-in-law to report that Zaynab was inconsolable at being separated from her family. The marriage was not working out, and Zaynab returned to live with her family.
  • 1995
    Age 16
    In July 1995, her father arranged for the 15-year-old Zaynab to marry Khalid Abdullah, an Egyptian, in December.
    More Details Hide Details Her mother began preparing an apartment for the couple in the family's house in Pakistan. On November 19, 1995 Ayman al-Zawahiri bombed the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan. Named as one of the conspirators, Zaynab's fiancé Abdullah went into hiding. When police arrived eight days later to arrest her father on suspicion of involvement, Zaynab grabbed his rifle and screamed at them, while her mother barricaded the door. Zaynab later recalled having celebrated the engagement of her friend Umayma al-Zawahiri at the girl's family house in an all-day party. Umayma's father, al-Zawahiri, had knocked at Umayma's door to ask the two girls to keep their singing and partying quiet as it was nighttime.
  • 1985
    Age 6
    The family moved to Pakistan in 1985, where her father worked for charities assisting Afghan refugees after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
    More Details Hide Details The children went to school there and were also home schooled by their mother. Zaynab has five younger brothers: Abdullah, Abdurahman, Abdulkareem (known as Kareem), Ismail (died), and Omar, and a younger sister.
  • 1979
    Age 0
    Zaynab Khadr was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1979, the eldest daughter and first child of Maha el-Samnah and Ahmed Khadr, Egyptian-Canadian citizens.
    More Details Hide Details Her father was in graduate school.
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