Osama Bin Laden’s Mother who granted an interview for the first time, has expressed fears over the late terrorist’s son’s intent of ‘avenging his father’s death’ and have pleaded with him not to follow in the terror mastermind’s footsteps.
While 29-year-old Hamza who jihadis have hailed as the ‘heir’ to the leadership of terror group al-Qaeda, is believed to have travelled to Afghanistan, his family who live in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, urged Hamza not to follow the same path as his father, who approved the devastating 9/11 terror attacks on the New York in 2001 which killed 2,977 people.
One of his uncles, Hassan, told the Guardian
‘We thought everyone was over this. Then the next thing I knew, Hamza was saying, “I am going to avenge my father.” I don’t want to go through that again.
‘If Hamza was in front of me now, I would tell him, “God guide you. Think twice about what you are doing. Don’t retake the steps of your father. You are entering horrible parts of your soul”.’
In the same interview, Osama bin Laden’s mother broke her 17-year silence to insist the fanatic turned to terror after being ‘brainwashed by a cult’. Alia Ghanem said the al-Qaeda boss was a ‘very good kid’ but became radicalised at the King Abdulaziz University in his 20s.
Ghanem, now in her 70s, revealed Osama became a ‘different man’ and that it never crossed her mind her ‘shy’ and ‘pious’ son would go on to become a jihadist.
In an interview with Martin Chulov for the Guardian, Ghanem and her family – still influential in Saudi society – spoke at length about Osama.
Ghanem lives in a wealthy area of Jeddah in a mansion including a spiral staircase at leading to a number of ‘cavernous rooms’, according to the report. Framed pictures of the extremist are dotted around her living room – one of them showing the bearded fanatic smiling in a military outfit. Ghanem insisted her first-born son had been a deeply religious individual who ‘changed’ at 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.’
Ghanem said her son had spent all his money ‘sneaking off’ to Afghanistan under the guise of family business but that the family was left ‘extremely upset’ on realising he had in fact become a jihadist.
The terrorist’s half-brothers waited until Osama Bin Laden’s mother was out of the room to reveal she remains in denial about the terror lord and ‘refuses to blame him’ – instead pointing at ‘those around him’.
They said they were ‘shocked and stunned’ when news of the World Trade Centre atrocity emerged and knew within two days that Osama’s al-Qaeda was behind the attack. One of his half brothers, Ahmad, told the Guardian that ‘from the youngest to the eldest’ the family ‘felt ashamed’ of Osama and that their mother still ‘only knows the good boy side’.
They revealed that they last saw Osama in Afghanistan in 1999, seeing him twice at his headquarters near the airport in Kandahar.
For many years, the bin Laden family said they were banned from travelling by the Saudi government who also questioned the extremist’s relatives. However, they are now free to travel outside the kingdom.
Bin Laden approved the devastating 9/11 terror attacks on the New York in 2001 which killed 2,977 people. He ran the al-Qaeda jihadist network until he was tracked down to a compound in Pakistan and shot dead by US special forces in 2011.
The terror mastermind was with his youngest wife, Amal bin Laden, and their children on the night his hideaway was raided by American SEALs. The operation took just minutes and the military forces left with bin Laden’s body.