Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Osama Bin Laden's family urge son not to follow his father's path

Osama Bin Laden's family urge son not to follow his father's path

In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, Alia Ghanem, Laden's mother, described him as a "good son" who was "brainwashed" by fundamentalists.

Alia Ghanem is Osama bin Laden's mother, and she commands the attention of everyone in the room. It was at the university where he met Azzam.

"You can call it a cult".

"Her reflections of Osama bin Laden as a boy, his path towards radicalisation, I though they were relevant, they were pertinent, they were interesting". She reminisces, "He was a very good child until he met some people who pretty much brainwashed him in his early 20s". They were not sure "whether opening old wounds will prove cathartic or harmful". How does the family feel about Hamza's declaration that he would avenge Osama's death?

A smiling, bearded figure wearing a military jacket, he features in photographs around the room: propped against the wall at her feet, resting on a mantlepiece.

"He raised Osama from the age of three". She only knows the good boy side, the side we all saw.

While the world may call Osama a terrorist and the leader of al-Qaeda, which took the lives of thousands of people, for Ghanem he is just her son. "I would always tell him to stay away from them, and he would never admit to me what he was doing, because he loved me so much", Ghanem told the Guardian. "He was very happy to receive us".

"He taught me a lot". At the start, we were very proud of him.

Osama Bin Laden's family urge son not to follow his father's path
Osama Bin Laden's family urge son not to follow his father's path

As per the report, the interview that had reached its stages of conclusion after an extensive period of days, was conducted in Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah.

Speaking about the man (Laden) who ripped several families apart, Ghanem remembers what his son done to the country and the damages he caused to several people's lives was extremely upsetting to her. Osama's father went on to have 54 children with at least 11 wives.

The family, one of Saudi Arabia's richest and most influential, was allowed to talk to the media as part of Crown Prince Mohhamed Bin Salman's reform drive.

Starting his career, he moved to Saudi Arabia to work at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. Almost two decades on, the Bin Ladens can move relatively freely within and outside the kingdom. He was not a fighter.

According to officials in Riyadh, London and Washington DC, Bin Laden became the world's number one counter-terrorism target.

"There is no doubt that he deliberately chose Saudi citizens for the 9/11 plot", a British intelligence officer told British daily the Guardian.

Chulov said that while there has been speculation that Hamza bin Laden is in Pakistan, he believes it is more likely that he is in Afghanistan. His successor, Zawahiri, was seen as less charismatic, and over the past few years many jihadists abandoned the group to join Isil.

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