Is Money the Root of Some Evil?

By Dokoupil, Research Tony | Newsweek, January 18, 2010 | Go to article overview
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Is Money the Root of Some Evil?


Dokoupil, Research Tony, Newsweek


Byline: Research by Tony Dokoupil

A surprising number of today's terrorists had affluent childhoods, including Osama bin Laden, his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, and last month's alleged Christmas Day bomber. But they're not the first to have tarnished the silver spoon they were born with.

Osama bin Laden

Born into one of the Arab world's 10 richest families--with holdings totaling some $7 billion--bin Laden abandoned his birthright, declaring war on the "false Muslims" of Saudi royalty (his family's business partners) and later America, a land "the Bin Laden family owned an impressive share of," according to The Bin Ladens.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

The youngest son of one of Africa's wealthiest men, Abdulmutallab occupied a world of walled courtyards and overseas studies in London, where he stayed in his father's $4 million flat. When his radical religious views alarmed his family, he headed for Yemen, embraced "the real Islam"--and allegedly attempted to bring down a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day.

Nathan Leopold & Richard Loeb

Leopold lived in a gabled mansion bought with a shipping fortune, while Loeb's father amassed $10 million as vice president of Sears. But money has its hazards; in this case, distant parents and cold-hearted nannies. The teenagers murdered "for the thrill of it," pounding a 14-year-old boy's head in with a chisel in 1924.

Erik & Lyle Menendez

In a $4 million home previously rented by Elton John and Prince, the Menendez brothers blasted their parents 15 times with a shotgun on Aug.

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