‘How my son was radicalised in the university’ — mother of Osama bin Laden speaks

Bin Laden

Alia Ghanem, mother of Osama bin Laden, deceased al-Qaeda leader, says her son was radicalised in the university.

Speaking in an interview with UK Guardian, she said her eldest son was brainwashed into extremist ideology.

Ghanem said bin Laden was a shy, academically capable boy, who turned into a strong, pious figure while an economics student in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in his early 20s.

“The people at university changed him. He became a different man,” narrating how bin Laden had met Abdullah Azzam, a Muslim Brotherhood member, who became his spiritual adviser, at the university.

“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.’’

She narrated how he kept his distance after he came under external influence.

Ghanem added that her son loved her so much.

“He was a very good kid and he loved me so much… my life was very difficult because he was so far away from me,” she said.

Pointing to a portrait of bin Laden’s father, she said “He raised Osama from the age of three. He was a good man, and he was good to Osama.”

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