In a stunning interview with The Guardian, Osama Bin Laden’s mother, Alia Ghanem, has spoken publicly for the very first time about her son. Speaking from the family’s large home in Saudi Arabia, Ghanem told journalist Martin Chulov that her son was “very good at school” and “very straight” — until he went to university, where the people “changed him.”
“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,” Ghanem told Chulov. “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.”
When Chulov asked Ghanem if she suspected her son would ever become a jihadist, she said “it never crossed my mind.” And when she realized he had? “We were extremely upset. I did not want any of this to happen. Why would he throw it all away like that?”
Not all of his family deflects the blame for what would ultimately become one of the darkest periods in modern history on the people around Osama. The terrorist’s half-brothers told Chulov:
“It has been 17 years now [since 9/11] and she remains in denial about Osama,” Ahmad. “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.”
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