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My dinner with al Qaeda

The day I met a disciple of Bin Laden—and had to bargain for my life

By Hugh Pope   May 2010

Four-year-old Hugh Pope outside Petra in 1964. He would spend most of his adult life reporting from the region

It was a couple of months after 11th September 2001, but it never occurred to me that I was at risk from al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. I was there as a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, and I still believed in the cloak of innocence: the idea that my reporting represented an honest, universal right to know.

My travelling companion, Saad, was the son of a dissident religious sheikh. He was, I felt, a moral person…

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