Joshua Boyle Was Married to Sister of Convicted Terrorist Omar Khadr
Joshua Boyle, now free after five years of captivity in Afghanistan, is perhaps best known for his brief marriage to Omar Khadr’s older sister.
Boyle, the son of an Ottawa tax court judge, was married for about a year to Zaynab Khadr. She’s the eldest daughter of Ahmed Said Khadr, who was accused by the U.S. and Canada of being an associate and financier for the terrorist group Al-Qaeda. Ahmed Khadr studied at the University of Ottawa, and the family moved between Canada, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Zaynab Khadr was a fierce defender of both her father and her brother, Omar Khadr, who was captured as a 15-year-old fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan and charged with killing an American soldier.
How did Zaynab Khadr meet Boyle, a University of Waterloo graduate? Boyle had developed a keen interest in national security and human rights issues after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Boyle was principled, smart and a “crusader” by nature, said his friend Alex Edwards, who lives in Carleton Place. Boyle was captivated by the plight of Omar Khadr, who was being held in a U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, said Edwards.
“Here was this kid, this Canadian child, off in an illegal American prison, and everyone in (Canada) was vilifying the Khadr family, and Josh decided, ‘Hey, this isn’t right.’ So he went off and devoted several years of his life to help this innocent kid.”
Boyle had no connection to the Khadr family, but introduced himself and volunteered to help them, said Edwards.
Boyle acted as the Khadr family spokesperson in 2008 when Zaynab staged a hunger strike on Parliament Hill to protest her brother’s detention. (After a decade at Guantanamo, Omar Khadr was returned to Canada, and later received a $10.5 million settlement from the Canadian government for violation of his charter rights.)
Boyle married Zaynab Khadr in 2009. He was 25, she was 29. It was the third marriage for Zaynab. The first two were arranged: her first husband was sought as a conspirator in a bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan; Osama Bin Laden was one of the guests at her second wedding in Afghanistan.
Back in Canada, Zaynab created controversy in 2004 for controversial remarks she made criticizing the way children were raised here and suggesting that the Sept. 11 terror attacks were justified.
Boyle defended his wife for her earlier remarks. In an email exchange with a Citizen reporter, Boylesaid his relationship with Zaynab had taught him that no one can accurately judge the character of a person they’ve never met.