- Alia Ghanem, the mother of Osama Bin Laden has revealed her anguish at the way her son’s life turned out
- Alia in her mid-70s recalled her firstborn son changed during his days in King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, where he studied Economics
- Bin Laden's mother said her son was a very good child until he met some people who pretty much brainwashed him
The mother of deceased al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden has given her first interview 7 years after her son's death, claiming he was a "very good kid" who was radicalised during his time at university.
Alia Ghanen speaking to The Guardian newspaper at her family’s home in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, said that her eldest son was ‘brainwashed’ into extremist ideology.
Bin Laden's mother who is in her mid 70s, recalls her firstborn as a shy boy who was academically capable. He became a strong, driven, pious figure in his early 20s, she says, while studying economics at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, where he was also radicalised.
She said: “The people at university changed him, he became a different man.” One of the men he met there was Abdullah Azzam, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who was later exiled from Saudi Arabia and became Osama’s spiritual adviser.
“He was a very good child until he met some people who pretty much brainwashed him in his early 20s. You can call it a cult. They got money for their cause. 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.”
“I am very proud of him in the sense that he was my oldest brother,” he eventually continues. “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.”
Ghanem listens intently, becoming more animated when the conversation returns to Osama’s formative years. “He was very straight. Very good at school. He really liked to study. He spent all his money on Afghanistan – he would sneak off under the guise of family business.”
On if she ever suspect he might become a jihadist? “It never crossed my mind,” she said.
Alia went on to reveal, how she felt after her son had become a jihadist saying: “We were extremely upset. I did not want any of this to happen. Why would he throw it all away like that?
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In a previous report by NAIJ.com, Osama bin Laden’s son, Hamza was reportedly seeking revenge for his father’s death and was poised to become the new leader of Al Qaeda.
Some personal letters seized in the raid that killed bin Laden show that his son, Hamza, is set on avenging his father’s death.
Former FBI agent, Ali Soufan, while speaking to CBS News in an interview said: “He tells him that…he remembers ‘every look…every smile you gave me, every word you told me."
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