New Delhi: After seven years of Al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden’s death, his mother Alia Ghanem has spoken for the first time about her son’s transformation from being a “good kid” into one of the most the infamous men in the world.
Osama was an academically capable shy boy. He was a strong, driven pious figure in his early 20s, however, he was radicalized while studying at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, she recalled during an interview to the Guardian.
“The people at university changed him and he became a different man,” she said.
During his university days, Osama met some people who brainwashed him and he changed his ways, Ghanem claimed.
“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 added.
The family was proud of him even when he fled to Afghanistan in the 1980s to fight the Russian occupation.
It had never crossed Ghanem’s mind that Osama, who “liked to study” and was “very good” at school, would become a jihadist.