17 years after the attacks, Osama Bin Laden’s mother has spoken out about why she thinks her son instigated the tragic events of 9/11.
The devastating events of 9/11 are engrained in most people’s minds.
On September 11, 2001, the terrorist group al-Qaeda carried out four coordinated terror attacks, which resulted in the death of nearly 3000 people, with many others injured and suffering life-threatening consequences.
Osama Bin Laden was a founder of al-Qaeda, and a major target for the United States due to his involvement in a series of terrorist attacks on the country. He was shot dead in 2011.
After keeping quiet for a long time, Bin Laden’s mum has spoken out 17 years after the attacks which irreversibly altered the United States.
The mother, Alia Ghanem, lives with her family in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
In an interview with the Guardian, she explained her beliefs about why her son committed the crimes he did, revealing a dark part of the al-Qaeda leader’s life.
Ghanem is now in her 70s, and she described her son’s personality as a child as ‘very good’ and ‘shy’. She added that Bin Laden was deeply religious when he was younger.
The mother said:
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.
The mother said that she could never have imagined Bin Laden would become a terrorist responsible for the death of thousands.
Speaking about her and the rest of Bin Laden’s family’s reaction to the terrible things he did, she said:
We were extremely upset. I did not want any of this to happen. Why would he throw it all away like that?
The mother explained that in university, her son became a ‘different man’.
The people at university changed him. He became a different man.
He became radicalised, and Ghanem believes that the attacker was ‘brainwashed’, and became part of a cult.
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.
Other members of Bin Laden’s family seemed to contradict the mother’s suspicions.
Speaking of the terrorist, they said:
It has been 17 years now [since 9/11] and [Ghanem] remains in denial about Osama. 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.
We knew from the beginning [that it was Osama], within the first 48 hours.
From the youngest to the eldest, we all felt ashamed of him. We knew all of us were going to face horrible consequences.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.