In the first-ever public interview of the Osama bin-Laden’s family conducted by The Guardian, several interesting aspects of his family life came forward. Speaking with the interviewees was Alia Ghanem, Osama bin Laden’s mother and his two younger half-brothers, Hassan and Ahmad. Here are 7 interesting things that surfaced during the course of this groundbreaking interview:
1) Details of Bin-Laden’s Unconventional Family.
Osama Bin Laden was born in 1957 in Riyadh. Ghanem divorced his father and married a Mohammed al-Attas, then an administrator in the fledgling Bin Laden empire, in the early 1960s. Osama’s father reportedly went on to have 54 children from 11 wives.
2) Ghanem Talked About His Good Character as a Child
She said that Osama bin-Laden was a “good at school and he really liked to study”. She also said he was very respectful of her and loved her very much. To the end that he hid his true allegiances from his mother so she could have never guessed what he was involved in.
3) Ghanem Spoke of Bin-Laden’s University Days
She lamented over how he fell into questionable company, including Abdullah Azzam, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who was later exiled from Saudi Arabia and became Osama’s spiritual adviser. She claims that he was a ‘good child’ until he fell into the hands of a cult-like group that brainwashed him
4) Bin-laden Was Actually Quite Respected in Saudia Before He Became a ‘Jihadist
When Bin-Laden traveled to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet occupation he was very well respected by the Saudi government as well. His family last met him in 1999 at his base in Kandahar. Those were quite the celebratory times for the family as their son earned them great respect by fulfilling his
5) His Brother, Hassan Had a Very Mixed Statement for His Brother
Hassan, Osama’s younger brother said in the interview that he was proud of Osama in that he was his elder brother but he was not proud of the man he was. He said that “He taught me a lot. But I don’t think I’m very proud of him as a man. He reached superstardom on a global stage, and it was all for nothing.”
6) Ghanem Has Stayed in Denial About Osama’s Involvement in 9/11 to Date
As most mothers, Ghanem has stuck to the image she has of her son pre-university days. His brother Hassan claims that she only remembers the good side we all knew of as his family. “She loved him so much and refuses to blame him. Instead, she blames those around him. She only knows the good boy side, the side we all saw. She never got to know the jihadist side”, said Ahmad. His brothers, however, were immediately able to reconcile with the fact that al-Qaeda’s leader and their brother was possibly responsible for the attack.
7) It Took Nearly Two Decades for Things to Normalize for the Bin-Laden Family
Needless to say, Osama bin-Laden left behind a harrowing trail of disasters for his family. Following 9/11 the Bin-Laden’s all moved to Saudia Arabia from around the world. They became the subjects of incessant questioning and investigation. They were even forbidden to leave the kingdom. Today, in 2018, they are finally able to move around relatively freely, both inside and outside Saudia Arabia.
*Feature Image Source: The Guardian*