Osama bin Laden's mother 'refuses to blame him'

Osama bin Laden.
Osama bin Laden. Photo credit: File

Osama bin Laden's mother and two of his half-brothers have spoken publicly about her son for the first time since his death.

It's seven years since the al-Qaeda leader was killed during a raid on his compound in 2011.

Alia Ghanem gave an interview to British newspaper the Guardian from the family's home in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

She says Osama was a shy and good child, but was claims he was brainwashed 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."

When he first went into battle in Afghanistan, Ms Ghanem says she was proud of her son - because he was fighting against the Russian occupation.

But when he morphed into a jihadist militant, she says she was "extremely upset".

"I did not want any of this to happen. Why would he throw it all away like that?"

She last saw him in 1999, two years before the September 11 attacks in the US that killed thousands.

The towers before they fell on September 11, 2001.
The towers before they fell on September 11, 2001. Photo credit: Getty

Osama's half-brothers told the Guardian she remains in denial about his involvement in the atrocity.

"She loved him so much and refuses to blame him," said Ahmad. "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."

But he says they all knew Osama was behind it "within the first 48 hours".

Osama's youngest son Hamza, 29, has followed in his father's footsteps.

"We thought everyone was over this," half-brother Hassan told the paper.

"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.'"

Newshub.