Abdulkareem Khadr

Abdulkareem Khadr

Abdulkareem Khadr in 2008
Born (1989-03-29) March 29, 1989
Nationality Canadian
Home town Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Religion Sunni Muslim
Parent(s) Ahmed Khadr
Maha el-Samnah

Abdulkareem Khadr (Arabic: عبد الكريم خضر, ʿAbd al-Karīm Ḫaḍr born March 29, 1989) is a Canadian citizen and the youngest son of the Ahmed Khadr family. His father and mother were Egyptian and Palestinian immigrants, respectively.

His father took the family to Pakistan in 1985, where they chiefly lived while he was doing charitable work to aid Afghan refugees. They frequently traveled back to Canada to see the children's maternal grandparents. In the 1990s, they moved to Kabul, Afghanistan.

In 2003, Abdulkareem at the age of 14 was with his father Ahmed Khadr in Waziristan region during a shoot-out with Pakistani security forces near the border of Afghanistan. His father was killed and Abdulkareem was severely wounded, resulting in his becoming paralyzed.

In 2004, he and his mother Maha el-Samnah returned to Canada, where they reside in Toronto.

Records indicate in 2016, he married a U.S. National by the name of Amanda Marie Castro in Toronto.

Early life and education

The family lived most of the time in Pakistan in the period when the younger children were born. Their father was wounded in 1992, and Abdulkareem traveled with his parents to Canada for his father's care. They went briefly to Tajikistan in 1994.

The Saudi Muslim guerrilla fighter and financier Ibn Al-Khattab gave Abdulkareem a rabbit of his own, which he named Khattab.[1]

Abdulkareem (left) and Omar (right).

Around 1999, while he and his parents were staying with the family of Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kandahar, the ten-year-old Abdulkareem begged the al-Qaeda leader to let him hold his gun after he returned home one night. Al-Zawahiri relented, and let the boy inspect the weapon.[2]

In 2001, the family split up, with Maha taking the younger children, with the help of Zaynab, to go with other families into the mountains. Ahmed would visit them regularly. In 2002, Abdulkareem accompanied his older sister Zaynab Khadr to Lahore, where she went for medical care for her two-year-old daughter. The siblings were joined there by their brother Abdullah Khadr, who needed surgery on his nose.[1]


Abdulkareem as a child, in the arms of his sister Zaynab.

On October 2, 2003, Pakistani AH-1 Cobra gunships[3] and security forces attacked a house in the South Waziristan region of Pakistan, where Abdulkareem, 14 at the time, and his father Ahmed Khadr were staying with seven other men.[4] They included Hamza al-Jowfi, al-Iraqi, Khalid Habib and Qari Ismail.[5]

Pakistani authorities have said that Abdulkareem was among the combatants.[5] He was paralysed after a bullet damaged his spinal cord, while another lodged in his arm.[3][4] The 17-year-old Khalid Murjan Salim was arrested at the scene, the son of the alleged militant Murjan Salim. Shortly eafter, he was extradited to Egypt.[6][7]

Abdulkareem Khadr was taken to a military hospital in Rawalpindi and placed under surveillance as he recuperated.[8] He was shown photographs of the corpses found among the ruins of the house, but reports differed as to whether he identified any as his father.[9]

In Canada

Abdulkareem in 2004, after returning to Canada, built this mock-up of Disney's Black Pearl.

In January 2004, Pakistani authorities said that Khadr wanted to return to Canada, and said they had no objections.[5] In February 2004 Canadian officials said the government would not subsidize the medical costs for Khadr's return, which were estimated at $30,000,[4] although they would grant him a passport.[5]

After he and his mother entered the country on April 9, 2004, there were suggestions that they may not qualify for OHIP medical coverage, as they had lived mostly outside of Canada for so long.[4] At the airport, Khadr flashed the peace sign to gathered reporters, and gained headlines.[8] Three months after returning to Canada, he was legally eligible for care.[10] A week later Dr. Marty McKay, a private doctor who had never met the family, registered a three-page complaint with the Children's Aid Society, alleging child abuse and possible brainwashing of Abdulkareem based on what she had read in the media.[11]

In 2010, Abdulkareem Khadr, then 21, was charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation, Toronto police spokesman said. The alleged female victim was a minor at the time of the event, but was 18 at the time of the charges. On June 4, 2010 Khadr was arrested by the Canadian police. Later released, he was summoned to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice on July 15, 2010 to answer the charges. He denies all responsibility on the affair.[12]

Others of the Khadr family in Canada include his sister Zaynab Khadr and her daughter, his older brothers Abdullah, Abdurahman, who worked as an undercover informant for the CIA in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and in Bosnia before returning to Canada; and Omar Khadr, the last to arrive. He was repatriated in October 2012 from Guantanamo, where he had been detained since being captured at age 15 in Afghanistan. He pleaded guilty in a plea agreement in 2010, and is serving the remainder of his eight-year sentence in Canada.


  1. 1 2 Michelle Shephard, Guantanamo's Child, 2008.
  2. Wright, Lawrence, The Looming Tower, 2006
  3. 1 2 Michael Friscolanti. Macleans, ""The house of Khadr" Archived May 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., August 4, 2006
  4. 1 2 3 4 Thorne, Stephen. Canadian Press, "No help for 14-year-old son of Canadian al-Qaeda suspect paralysed in firefight"
  5. 1 2 3 4 Thorne, Stephen. Canadian Press, "Pakistan to release wounded Cdn", January 26, 2004
  6. al-Shafi'i, Muhammad. Al-Sharq al-Awsat, "Egypt received three sons of al-Qaida and al-Jihad leaders", May 19, 2004
  7. Amnesty International, "Pakistan: Human rights ignored in the 'war on terror'" Archived July 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., 2006
  8. 1 2 Yahoo news, "Two members of family that has been linked to al-Qaida return to Canada", April 9, 2004
  9. The lonely world of al-Qaeda's wives Archived January 5, 2006, at the Wayback Machine., Canberra Times, April 4
  10. Lunman, Kim and Colin Freeze. Globe and Mail, "Khadrs' citizenship safe, PM says", April 16, 2004
  11. CBC, "Doctor wants Khadrs investigated on suspicion of child abuse", April 20, 2004
  12. "Sex assault charges mark new chapter in Khadr family saga", National Post
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