Alia Ghanem, Osama bin Laden’s Mum, told The Guardian her son was drawn to Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism after he was radicalized by a “cult” while studying economics at the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
“The people at university changed him. He became a different man. 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 said.
She insisted that she pleaded with Osama to “stay away from them,” to no avail.
When asked if she ever thought her son would become a jihadist, let alone the leader of Al-Qaeda, Ghanem said, “It never crossed my mind” and described her family as “extremely upset” when they learned of his terrorist activity.
“I did not want any of this to happen. Why would he throw it all away like that?” she added.
Despite his death, the terror network continued to operate, and his son, Hamza, is widely considered to the heir to the Al-Qaeda leadership.
Commenting on Hamza’s growing role in the terror franchise, the 29-year-old’s uncles said he should reconsider his involvement with Al-Qaeda and avoid following his father’s path.
Hamza has continued to call on Muslims around the world to avenge his father’s death by carrying out terrorist attacks in the West, and there’s been no indication he plans to leave the group.
*Al-Qaeda is a terrorist group banned in Russia.