Kola, the Beautiful; Kola, the Mysterious!


Sudan's beautiful trouble-making Kola Boof writer is starting to pay for her torrid 1996 love affair with the world's most feared terrorist Osama Bin Laden. She had to remove her son from an Elementary school when people noticed the boy looked so much like Bin Laden!

AN American author who says she was forced into sexual servitude by Osama bin Laden has pulled her 5-year-old son out of a Los Angeles elementary school after rumors swirled that bin Laden was the child's father.
Sudanese-born Kola Boof, 33, says she was held prisoner and forced to have sex with bin Laden in 1996 when she was pursuing an acting career in North Africa. She says bin Laden raped her, then forced her to live with him for four months at the La Maison Arabe hotel in Marrakesh, Morocco. In 1998, after she had escaped to Spain, bin Laden threatened to kill her after reading her first book of poems, "Every Little Bit Hurts," which was critical of Islam.

"He tracked me down and called me and said, 'If I had the time, I would come and slit your throat myself,' " Boof told us yesterday. "After I got that call, I was afraid for my life and moved to London."

Boof, an American citizen who now lives in L.A., says she is under federal protection but provided no details. She says she pulled her son out of school last week after a man tried to take a picture of him there. She insisted that bin Laden did not father her son, who is too young to have been conceived during her relationship with the terrorist.

In the past, Boof has denied rumors of her sexual relationship with bin Laden, but she says she has come clean for her son's safety. "The fact that people think my son is Osama's is very scary to me, so I thought I better clear it up. He's a monster . . . I did not want to be with him. I was basically his prisoner."

Boof says she escaped to Spain after bin Laden tired of her and allowed her to leave. "He asked me to move out so he could move another woman in," she said. "I never saw him again."

The controversial author says she has also been marked for death by the Sudanese-based National Islamic Front, who issued a fatwah in response to her writings condemning slavery in the Sudan, female castration, stoning and other barbarism against African women.

On New Year's Eve, Boof was dropped by her publisher, Russom Damba, after his printing press in Morocco was firebombed. "My publisher says he can't risk his life or his family's well being," she said. "It's terrible."

But while Boof counts a number of high-profile black activists as supporters - including New York University law professor and author Derrick Bell and Washington radio personality Joe Madison - some have cast doubt on her claims.

A New York Times profile last October suggested she was a media manipulator who may be stretching the truth. Boof insists that she's being honest and blasted the Times piece as "distorted."

*Courtesy of New York Post--January 7th, 2003


December 11, 2002, New York Times
Mystery Enshrouds Kola Boof,
Writer and Internet Persona

Who is Kola Boof?

She might be, as she claims, the object of a fatwa ordering her death because of her vehement criticism of the Muslim government in her native Sudan. Or she might be, as some have suggested, an author trying to bring attention to her books by fabricating a provocative public persona, using the specter of fatwa as a marketing ploy.

Either way, the Kola Boof story demonstrates how flashpoints are reached in cyberspace, the new forum for underground literature and politics, where fact and myth become indistinguishable and publicity campaigns become a kind of performance art. Without the imprimatur of a major publisher or a mainstream review or a public appearance, she has managed to instigate anger and discussion about her work.

Ms. Boof said a fatwa was ordered up on her in London for her stand against organized religion, but particularly against Arab Muslims. Sudanese officials in London, however, said that was not true. One of those officials did denounce her in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, a leading Arab-language newspaper in the United Kingdom. A number of well-known African-American activists have taken up her causes, which include her opposition to slavery in the Sudan and her condemnation of stoning and female castration and other harsh measures taken against African women.

They include Derrick Bell, the New York University law professor and author of several books, most recently "Ethical Ambition: Living a Life of Meaning and Worth," and Joe Madison, the Washington radio personality who for 14 years was on the board of the N.A.A.C.P. The attention has translated into sales. "Long Train to the Redeeming Sin" (North African Book Exchange), her collection of earthy and impressionistic stories about racial identity, has been selling briskly on AALBC.com, an online service that specializes in books for African-Americans, but is by no means a best seller.

Ms. Boof's Web site appeared on the Internet a few months ago, presenting her as a mysterious but alluring figure, whose life provided a potent brew of international politics, diplomatic and sexual - part Graham Greene, part Jacqueline Susann. Among other things, she claims she briefly was Osama bin Laden's mistress, in the late 1990's.

More often, in subsequent postings and interviews, she invokes the memory of her father, an Egyptian archaeologist, and her mother, a Somali nomad. Ms. Boof said they were killed in front of her in Sudan, where the family was then living, and that her given name was Naima Bahri. Sometimes she says she was 10 or 12, sometimes 8. After that, she said she was adopted by an African-American family in Washington, whose names she won't reveal.

Her startling author photograph for "Long Train," in which she poses defiant and naked from the waist up, has become the subject of much lewd Internet chat. Ms. Boof said she wanted to discredit the notion that breasts were sexual objects and to celebrate the nakedness of African women. She has deplored the influence of Western culture on African women, and certainly, "Long Train" presents a bleak and angry vision of their lives.

Soon she was being touted on radio programs as an advocate for the cause of southern Sudan in the 20-year civil war between the Arab-dominated government in the north and the subjugated black African south. She says she was born Muslim, but has since rejected organized religion. In a statement posted on the Web, she says, "For just as Harvard University is an institution created by men so is every religion."

Now newspapers have begun associating her name with fatwa in diverse outlets like Pravda, The Village Voice, The Washington Times and The New York Post.

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement, representing the non-Muslim faction in the civil war, embraced her and then backed away, as Ms. Boof's personal, if not literary, credentials have been called into question. They may be more cautious, too, since the Sudan Peace Act was signed by President Bush on Oct. 21, which authorizes $300 million in aid to the south and requires the two sides to negotiate in good faith.

"Her writing speaks of anguish and protest and of fighting against an unjust regime," said Deng Ajak by telephone from London, where he is secretary general of the Sudan Commission for Human Rights. Mr. Deng has read excerpts of "Long Train" on the Internet, but has not read the book itself.

Mr. Deng added: "But when she said in one of her own e-mails to me that she had a brief encounter of dating Osama bin Laden, I said to my colleagues that we need to pull the plug on this one. This could be one of the most impressively spun and choreographed pieces of fiction that one could imagine, or she may be legitimate. That is a big maybe for now."

Ms. Boof manages simultaneously to seek publicity and to shroud herself in secrecy. Her publisher isn't just obscure; it is curiously absent. Calls taken by an answering machine at the Fullerton, Calif., office of the North African Book Exchange went unanswered. But her book "Long Train" does exist.

"I can't deny that I'm a conniving person," said Ms. Boof - or a woman who said she was Ms. Boof - in a series of telephone conversations that took place after many e-mail messages were exchanged. She made the calls, refusing to divulge her whereabouts, except to say she was somewhere near Los Angeles. "I came from hell," she said. "My parents were killed in my presence. That changed me forever. I have to manipulate the system, and I don't mind if you publish that. Women have to manipulate the system to teach young women how to grow up and be better women than I am."

"People can't believe my life is real," she said. "But the pain of it has been like living in a furnace."

She said she was shot at outside Los Angeles - and that she shot back - and that she was under F.B.I. protection. The F.B.I. in Los Angeles said, through a spokeswoman, the agency had no knowledge of Ms. Boof. This didn't faze Ms. Boof. "That's their way of protecting me," she said.

On the telephone, the woman was articulate and loquacious, moving from humorous self-deprecation to passionate denunciation of the treatment of women in Islamic countries. She told flamboyant stories about her life in Egypt and Morocco, where, she said, she was a B-movie actress and a high-level prostitute, operating in luxury hotels, not on the street.

Her "sudden" appearance on the Internet several months ago wasn't accidental. "Long Train" was originally published in Arabic, in North Africa, and released in this country a year ago. Yi Nee Ling, then the public relations person for North African Book Exchange, created the campaign to make the writer's work known to African-American female audiences in the United States. "I used the Internet to give the world an `African Garbo,' " Ms. Ling said by e-mail. "But Kola Boof seems to be tearing it down. She talks too much in my opinion." Ms. Ling said she recently parted ways with the publisher and Ms. Boof.

The campaign was successful in a modest way. "Kola Boof is good at promotion, at getting her name out, and moving her book," said Troy Johnson, who founded AALBC.com, the online bookselling service, in 1998. "For an author not published by a major house, her book is doing better than any book of its type." But sales are still small, even though Ms. Boof is one of his top sellers. "In the hundreds, not thousands," Mr. Johnson said.

By early November, Ms. Boof's public relations strategists also included Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo, a political activist and former reporter for The Los Angeles Times and The Miami Herald, and Maria Sliwa (sister of Curtis Sliwa, who 20 years ago attracted much attention with his Guardian Angels, self-appointed protectors of New York City's subway passengers). Ms. Sliwa, now 47 and studying journalism at New York University, has traveled to Sudan and has been working to bring attention to human-rights violations there.

Ms. Ifateyo signed on after reading about Kola Boof on the Internet. "I was so moved, so touched, so sad," she said. For two weeks, every day at the bus stop I'd think about her. What can I do to help this woman. I sent her an e-mail to let her know I support her." Only then did she read "Long Train," which fascinated her and disturbed her. "I had never seen such beautiful descriptions of black skin," she said. "As a fellow writer, I thought she was just wonderful."

Ms. Sliwa and Ms. Ifateyo contacted many news organizations, including The New York Times, to announce that demonstrations on behalf of Kola Boof would take place at the United Nations in New York and in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington on Nov. 7. Only a handful of people turned up (including this reporter), but that fact was omitted in subsequent public discussions on the Internet. Ms. Boof's ranking on Amazon.com's mysterious daily measurement of its book sales jumped from 190,000 to 951 in a day and she was booked on several radio programs.

One of those shows was "Back to Africa," Mr. Madison's nationally broadcast satellite radio show. "Her conviction and commitment to the whole Sudan peace effort just impressed me," said Mr. Madison, who for six years has been trying to bring the spotlight to the issue of slavery in Sudan. He interviewed Ms. Boof for an hour, by telephone.

"I didn't approach this interview naïvely, and I questioned her extensively and she didn't hesitate," he said. As for her claim of death threats, Mr. Madison said: "This is not a unique experience. That's something that happens to most people who have taken up this issue. The more visible you are, the more vocal you are, the more threats you receive."

Alicia Banks, a former talk-show host in Atlanta, now living in Arkansas, said she has met Ms. Boof, the first time in 1997. "My biggest concern for Kola is that she is haunted by some deep, dark secrets," Ms. Banks said.

Sudanese diplomats insist that no fatwa has been issued. "It's quite bizarre and baseless this claim," Jamal Ibrahim, the deputy head of the Sudanese mission to Britain, said in a telephone interview. "My own view is that she wants to make use of this to help her in selling her books. It is a bizarre exercise in public relations."

That didn't stop Mr. Ibrahim from contributing to the publicity, by writing an attack on Ms. Boof in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. "Kola Boof is a `phobia-maker' produced by the new crusade to tell us that she came to fight Islam," Mr. Ibrahim wrote.

"This woman who is full of insanity and falsehood and dishonesty has nothing to make us afraid of her," he continued. "She is a wooden cross planted in the field to terrify the birds from eating the fruits when they are ripe, though she is standing in a spot where the Islamic world should pay attention."

But criticism isn't the same as a fatwa, which is a juristic opinion issued by a Muslim scholar to address a specific problem, that can be related to political, economic or social issues. "Nobody issued a fatwa against Kola Boof," said Sheikh Omar Bakri, a senior judge of the Islamic Sharia court in London. "I know she was criticized by a Muslim official in London, but he isn't in a position to issue a fatwa."

Professor Bell of N.Y.U. read "Long Train" and admired it. He began an e-mail correspondence with Ms. Boof several months ago when she sent him a fan e-mail message and asked for advice about publishing. Though he never met her, she confided in him about problems with her boyfriend and her fears of being assassinated.

"She never asked me for money or to do anything on her behalf," he said. "I volunteered to send her work to my agent. I have no sense she's a sham. Am I the most knowledgeable person in recognizing a hoax? No. But I do recognize jive and I got no sense of that."

Not all of Ms. Boof's supporters feel as certain. Ms. Sliwa has distanced herself because she is worried that the murkiness surrounding Ms. Boof could hurt the cause of those opposing the Khartoum government. "I don't think it behooves our human rights interest to connect ourselves with someone who is inconsistent and can't prove her identity," Ms. Sliwa said.

And there are those of Sudanese origin who are frustrated that it takes a Kola Boof to bring attention to the problems in Sudan. "I don't know why she wants to be an activist," said Edward Malwal, an international trade specialist for the state of Connecticut. Mr. Malwal has lived in exile from his country since 1979 because of the political situation there. "Why doesn't she let her writing speak for itself?" he asked.

But then she wouldn't be Kola Boof - or would she?

Sudanese woman sentenced to beheading

Please forward to feministlists

Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 07:12:34 -0800 (PST) From: SendMeYourNews <SendMeYourNews@theblacklist.net> Subject: KOLA BOOF fights back! Don't let them kill her.

----- Original Message ----- From: <Kwamebrathwaite@aol.com> Sent: Friday, November 01, 2002 12:27 AM Subject: Don't let them kill this sister KOLA BOOF fights back! WHEN: Nov. 7th 2002 (Thursday)Time: 5 p.m. At the United Nations Building in New York City At the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. At the Islamic Cultural Headquarters in Los Angeles, Ca More than 600 demonstrators...will gather in New York City, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles...simultaneously.... to protest the Sept. 26th death sentence from Sudan ordering that Black womanist writer Kola Boof is to be beheaded for the crime of blasphemy against Islam and treason against Sudan (*see complete details below). This is called in Islamic Shari'a Law...a "fatwa".... ..however, Kola Boof: http://www.kolaboof.com/ and many others would like to remind the world that the men (listed below) who are issuing this most serious death threat against her life...are not qualified to issue a fatwa...and even if they were...the whole thought of murdering a human being...just because you disagree with what they believe and have to say...is an idea that should have perished with the dark ages. Unfortunately, to many Arab Muslim fundamentalists...2002 IS the dark ages! We must rebel against this! Kola Boof is a talented, courageous Black African woman who used her life to fight against the slavery and ethnic-cleansing that currently disgraces Sudan. A holocaust that has been described by General Colin Powell as: "The single worst human rights nightmare on the planet!" On November 7th.... we shall launch the first attack against Sudan's Taliban-like Arab Muslim regime and their arrogant death threats by taking to the streets and officially declaring that...KOLA BOOF (who Sudan's "African" soldiers have named. our Most Gracious Queen Kola)...is off limits to terrorist assassins and demagogues...within and without Sudan. We will not tolerate terrorist assassinations in America! In this country...we have freedom of speech. Please support us as we demonstrate on behalf of Kola Boof (our beloved Queen Kola) on Nov. 7th.... Here are the Contact names of the Event Leaders in each city: New York City ZULU Mageba 212-368-0674 Email: Bosiaart@aol.com Maria Sliwa 973-546-3094 (Press) Washington D.C. Ajowa Ifateyo 202-882-0192 (Press) Email: a.ifateyo@verizon.net Brother Mwariama 202-543-7023 Los Angeles Capt. Tandasizwe (Thandi) 213-792-4178 COMPLETE PRESS INFORMATION:Kola Boof has been found guilty of: "Blasphemy and Treason" Codicile: "...guilty of deliberately and maliciously bearing false witness against religious sentiment and of willing treason against her Arab Muslim father's people and against her nation, the Sudan." NOTE: Kola Boof points out that she has not been Muslim since around 10 and that the men issuing said fatwa are not qualified to do so. Sudan being a terrorist Taliban-like state...these Islamic politicians have elevated their own status, according to Boof. Of course...Boof's technical observations will not stop the fatwa from being carried out. The fatwa was issued on Sept. 26th. But on Sept. 15th there was a warning that it would be issued when a Diplomat from Sudan's government, Gamal Ibrahaim, wrote a scathing article about Kola Boof in London's largest daily Arabic newspaper, "Al-Sharq al-Awsat"...in which he called Kola Boof, "a blasphemer of Islam"..."a fake".."mentally unstable"..."a prostitute"....and "a liar”. Kola Boof gave an interview (Oct. 9th) to longtime journalist Charlie Butts on USA Radio News in which she confirmed and discussed the issue. Ms. Boof already survived an attempt on her life on Aug. 21st. Against the wishes of the F.B.I., she gave a two hour interview to Lynne Duke of the Washington Post--but when the Feds refused to cooperate with Lynne Duke for the interview, the story was cancelled by the writer's editor for obvious reasons. The Fatwa:Ms. Boof is to be beheaded. She is issued "fatwa". She was suggested for fatwa by diplomat of the Sudanese government Gamal Ibrahaim. The matter was ratified by the following: Hassan Turabi (National Islamic Front), Ali Muhammad Taha (NIF), Sharif al-Tuhami (NIF)..Tanzim Wasti (London's Sudan Committee), Saad Faqih and PALESTINIAN government official..Mohammed Sobieh. Although Kola Boof argues that these men are not "designated" to hand down a fatwa...the regime in Khartoum is recognized as a terrorist government and is not above declaring itself a religious court and its members Islamic Scholars. As well as this, the fatwa was announced by Islamic extremist Sheikh Omar Bakri of London. SOURCES: On Sept. 26th 2002...Simon Jok (SPLA in London) received notification of the fatwa against Kola Boof by telephone from three people--Sheikh Omar Bakri (Muslim extremist), the secretary of Tanzim Wasti (head of London Sudan Committee)and secretary of diplomat Gamal Ibrahaim (who blasted Kola Boof in an article for London's largest Arab newspaper just one week before). These threats were also sent to Riek Machar--the 2nd in Command (only to Dr. John Garang)of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (of which Kola Boof is a member). That same evening, Sheikh Omar Bakri, founder of Osama Bin Laden's International Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders and self-appointed Judge of The Sharia Court of the U.K. distributed leaflets in London announcing Boof's fatwa and e-mails were sent to various people around the world, heralding the author's execution. Fatwa is also pending on: Women's author Taslima Nasreen (Nasrin) of Bangledesh, Salman Rushdie (writer/London) *His fatwa was supposedly lifted, but British government reports that he continues to be hunted. They have him on 24 hour security according to published reports. Terrence McNally, an American writer who wrote a play about Jesus Christ being homosexual.It is believed that the only reason these 3 most famous cases are still alive...is because of the media coverage that makes it embarrassing to Arab Muslim societies to carry out the killings. However, fundamentalists often make strikes against these people and continue to vow that these people will be eventually killed. A fatwa is a legal decision issued by an Islamic Scholar. This document is an official press release--our sources being...the North African Book Exchange (Russom Damba), the Sudanese People's Liberation Army, the Publicists for Kola Boof (Nafisa Goma and Ajowa Ifetayo) and most importantly.... Ms. Kola Boof herself. Mageba (Kwabena Tshupa Bosia kaZulu) ..."protestors were chanting "Izwe Lethu" which means "Our land" or gave the thumbs up "freedom salute, and shouted "Afrika"... Sharpeville Massacre. Inkululeko nenqubekelo phambili (Freedom and prosperity) Ukwanda kwaliwa ngumthakathi (Anyone who doesn't want the people to succeed and increase is a witch)