Mother of al-Qaeda Leader, Osama Bin Laden Recalls Him As A Good Child, Says He Was “Brainwashed”
Mother of Islamic group – al-Qaeda – leader, Osama Bin Laden in a recent interview has described her son as a good child.
Speaking publicly for the first time since her sons death in 2011, Alia Ghanem spoke with British newspaper The Guardian from the family’s Hone in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She disclosed that her son had been a shy and “good child” while growing up, but was “brainwashed” at the university.
According to the family, Bin Laden was last seen in 1999 – two years before the 9/11 attacks – when he was in Afghanistan. By this time be was already considered a global terrorist, after moving to the country initially to fight the invading Soviet forces in the 1980s.
When asked how she felt after learning her son had become a jihadist militant, Ghanem said: “We were extremely upset. I did not want any of this to happen. Why would he throw it all away like that?”
She added that the Muslim Brotherhood organisation, which her son became involved with while studying, was like a “cult”.
Alia Ghanem was married to Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden but got divorced thre years after Osama’s birth. It is said that Osama’s father had “more than 50 children in total”.
The Bin Laden family remain one of the most influential families in Saudi Arabia after gaining vast wealth in construction. Following the 9/11 attacks, the family said they were interrogated by the Saudi government who then limited their travel and movement.
Present at the interview were two of Bin Laden’s brothers, Hassan and Ahmad. They also described heir shock after learning of their brother’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks.
“From the youngest to the eldest, we all felt ashamed of him. We knew all of us were going to face horrible consequences. Our family abroad all came back to Saudi,” Ahmad said.
He added that his mother remains “in denial” about Bin Laden 17 years on from the 9/11 attacks, instead blaming the people around him.
Journalist Martin Chulov writes in the piece that he believed the gulf kingdom granted him permission to speak to Ms Ghanem because senior officials hoped it would demonstrate that the former al Qaeda leader was an outcast and not a state agent, as some have alleged.
Bin Laden was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1957. He studied in Jeddah before going to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan, where he formed his own brigade. He lost his father in an helicopter crash in 1969.
In 1988 he founded the al-qaeda group which means “the base”. In 1989, he returned to Saudi Arabia after Soviet withdraws after which he was expelled and he moved to Sudan then later to Afghanistan.
His family expel him as a shareholder in the family business in 1993 and his motherland revokes his citizenship. By 1996, Bin Laden declared war on US forces. In 1998, deadly attacks in US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam are blamed on al-Qaeda. The US authorises air strikes on his compound in Afghanistan. He begins to move around more frequently to stay safe.
In 2001, four US commercial airliners are hijacked by 19 followers. Two destroy New York’s World Trade Centre and a third hits the Pentagon. The fourth crashes in Pennsylvania killing everyone on board. Nearly 3,000 civilians are killed. President George W Bush declared Bin Laden “wanted dead or alive” and launches attacks on Afghanistan.
2002 through 2010, he was haunted by the US and in 2011, US Navy Seals raided his compound in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad and shot him dead alongside four other persons in the compound.
Bin Laden is buried at sea after an Islamic funeral on a US aircraft carrier.