Washington: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was a “family man” and an “ideal father” to his children before he became the chief of the dreaded Islamic State terror group, his ex-wife has claimed. In her first interview since her release from a Lebanese prison last year, Saja al-Dulaimi told CNN Swedish affiliate Expressen TV that she fears for the daughter she bore with him.
Born in Iraq to an upper-middle-class conservative family, Dulaimi was married off to Baghdadi. He was not a bloodthirsty terrorist back then, she claims. “I married a normal person, a university lecturer. He was a family man,” Dulaimi said. She was not his only bride and had to share him with another wife.
“He went to work and came home to his family. He was great. He was the children’s ideal father. The way he was with children…he was a teacher — you know how teachers are. He knew how to deal with children, better than how to deal with the mother,” she was quoted as saying. But the two did not talk much like others couples do. The reason for this, according to Dulaimi, was that had a “mysterious personality.”
“It’s hard for two wives to live together,” Dulaimi said. Their union, she said, ended seven years ago.
Dulaimi said she ran away from Baghdadi after she became pregnant. She, however, did not exactly say why she ran away, but explained, “I wasn’t happy.” She said she did not love him. “The fact that I got out is proof of that.” He tried to get her back several times. “But I’d already made my mind up,” she said. They last spoke in 2009, Dulaimi said, when Baghdadi again tried to get her back. She also did not tell him that she bore him a daughter. But he found out a while later, she said. “He said he’d take her when I remarry,” Dulaimi said.
She is very concerned for the girl, who says she hopes to get an education abroad. “She’s the one who now … suffers,” her mother said. “She has the entire world’s disaster upon her shoulders.”