Biography

Castro was born in June 1964 in Jaffa, a suburb of Nazareth in Israel, Palestine. Both parents come from well-to-do Muslim families, his mother in particular. Khatib received his given name Castro because his mother wanted her firstborn to be named after the first name mentioned on the radio; a slightly desperate measure perhaps to avoid the father’s suggestion for a name, Ibrahim. A radio feature about Fidel Castro and Cuba is accordingly the origin of the name Castro, uncommon to the Middle East.


Upbringing

   Castro´s mother studied to become a teacher during the first year of his life. Consequently Castro stayed a lot with his maternal grandmother Amni who granted him a very sheltered and loving upbringing. Castro was the apple of his grandmother’s eye. Growing up with his grandmother Amni was anything but what one normally would imagine it to be like growing up with a Muslim woman living alone. Amni both smoked at least two packets of cigarettes and drank a bottle of red wine per day (all too much for her health). She is also responsible for Castro’s actual baptism, which is something which Muslims normally do not do.
Castro grew up in the Christian quarter of Nazareth. There were few conflicts between Christians and Muslims and because the best schools were Christian ones it seemed natural for Castro´s parents to place him in a Greek Orthodox school. Castro performed well at school. He was good at most subjects, apart from language which is a little paradoxical since these days he speaks five languages fluently; Arabic, Greek, English, Hebrew and Swedish.

To Greece

 

When secondary education was finished Castro wanted to widen his horizons. Most of his friends were on their way to the US in order to continue to study at university but his parents didn’t want to let the son wander that far. Europe was to be far enough and since a cousin and a close friend was studying in Thessaloniki the choice fell onGreece where Castro arrived in 1985 with his sights set on studying law. He had applied for, and been admitted to, university in both Athens and Thessaloniki. Unfortunately the cousin’s grades didn’t stretch that far and when they were actually there on location it turned out that he had not been accepted at all. The solution arose whereby the cousin got to take on Castro’s place in Thessaloniki (using Castro’s name) while Castro himself took up the position in Athens. After a few years of studying the cousin was able to revert to his real identity and is nowadays a practicing lawyer.

Taking up rooms with an older woman in Athens, who became somewhat of a surrogate mother for Castro, he quickly learned the language. The university however did not really turn out as planned. He never felt comfortable, fell in love with a female teacher who did not reciprocate his love and generally had difficulty focusing. The studies were broken off. Castro’s knowledge of the Greek language never came wholly into play because Castro fell in love once again, this time with a Swedish girl, which culminated in a journey north.

To Sweden

In the spring of 1986, shortly after the murder of Olof Palme, Castro arrived for the first time in Sweden. There was snow. There was ice. It was dark and totally fantastic. Castro stood on ice skates for the first time and decided more or less straight away thatSweden was a country to bank on. The autumn of 1986 saw the complete move toSweden.Castro stayed at his girlfriend’s family on Lidingö, which is an exclusive suburb ofStockholm. He commenced Swedish language studies almost at once, and in a new sense, began to ponder his future, his goals and a possible profession. The sojourn inGreece had not been properly thought out. Law was a subject that suited Castro as little as did living with an allowance from parents and family. Castro began to feel an increasing urge for success: to become wealthy through personal power and not by means of one’s background or family.

Castro had always been fascinated by film. Most films he had seen when growing up were Arabic, and in Sweden he came face to face with an entirely different side of things; through the media of western film. A fellow Swedish student from Martiniquewas a film buff and introduced Castro to the film workshop on Riddarholmen where one could borrow cameras and cutting rooms. Castro decided and thought “what the hell, I’ll be a director too”.

The Film

Castro studied film and TV production at a university college in Kalix in Northern Sweden. Despite continued attempts to enter the University College of Film, Radio, Television and Theatre, Castro never succeeded in being admitted to the first-class film school, but this was nothing that he allowed himself to be defeated by. The education at Kalix was fantastic. The solidarity between the fellow students was good and Castro learned much that would form the basis for his future career in film. Most of his fellow students are still employed in companies operative within film and TV production, while directly after concluding his education Castro himself began producing his own feature films and purchased his own TV channel.

Love

In the beginning of the 1990’s Castro married Victoria. In 1993 twin daughters Patricia and Lorine were born. Victoria is a photographer and has been involved in most of Castro’s film productions. At the turn of the 21st century the marriage ended in divorce. It is always difficult to pinpoint exactly the cause which leads up to a divorce but Castro’s strong focus on work and various projects was a contributing factor.

Today Castro is married for a second time with Patricia who is a journalist. She is active within TV. They have a son together, Othman, who was born in 2009.
Castro is Muslim but both his marriages have been with Swedish women from regular Christian/Swedish backgrounds. Both Victoria and Patricia live in Stockholm and Castro’s three children live there too. The children, who are half Swedish and half Israeli/Palestinian, celebrate Islamic holidays and Christian ones alike. That’s the way Castro would have the world – borderless in terms of religion or cultural background.

Work, work and work

Since concluding film studies Castro has been involved in business and enterprise together with other businessmen from Europe, the Arab world and Russia. In close cooperation with a Russian partner he has produced films to the tune of 250 SEK million. Some of the films have won several prizes at international film festivals while others have not won the approval of critics and have had less success. Since Castro has exclusively brought in finances from outside the Swedish film system there has been much speculation surrounding him. This is somewhat of a typical Swedish or Scandinavian phenomenon, says Castro himself, who has been as much discussed inDenmark as he has in Sweden. There have been rumours of Italian or Russian mafia connections, something which Castro dismisses as nonsense and pure lies. Things are slightly different today in Sweden but unfortunately there is still great scepticism about doing things differently. Castro says, “if you go against the grain you are a scoundrel and if you do business with Russians then something fishy or criminal must be going on”. Castro’s main partner is Russian as was currently mentioned.

Today film is more like a big hobby than one of Castro’s main occupations. Castro has successively taken on more and more responsibility and a part of the administration of the family’s assets and he presently works near his mother, Subhyia, who has borne the primary burden of responsibility for the family’s assets. Primarily this happens by way of the investment fund and the Abu Dhabi First National consortium where Castro is CEO. Assets are primarily placed in real estate. The job demands a lot of travelling and Castro’s travel days amount to about 220 days per year. He has his own private residence in Stockholm, London, Paris, Monaco and Tel Aviv among other places. Castro is a resident of Monaco.

Charity is an important part of things for the family. Both Castro’s mother and father are strongly involved in various charity projects in Palestine, and the family donates large sums of money to charity organisations annually. You can read more about this under Charity.

Castro has interests too in companies operative within the media sector, such as LetsBuyIt for example. Further information about Castro’s various business enterprises can be found under Projects.

The parties

It is the opinion of many that Castro is somewhat of a playboy and drifter. This is something which is hardly strange, because there has actually been a fair amount of partying and expenditure on luxurious products during the course of the year. Castro loves cars; Ferraris, Rolls-Royces, Bentleys etc. Watches, clothes and art, fine restaurants too. His wife too is very beautiful of course and successful, but most of Castro’s life, according to himself, is about hard work and about taking care of the family.

 

Spirituality

Castro is Muslim but he has never lived according to the strict guidelines of the religion. In these last few years he has begun to change his views and has become more and more interested in spirituality, faith in mankind and the Prophet Mohammad of course.

In 2008 Castro made a pilgrimage to Mecca, Hajj, together with his parents. He tagged along first and foremost in order to support the parents but the journey really turned into a bit of an awakening for Castro. He met with fantastic people, and he found his experience of the phenomenon of praying together regardless of wealth, title or position in society, as liberating.