Hamida al-Attas

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Hamida al-Attas
Alia Ghanem[1][2]:72 or A'alia Ghanem[3][4]

1934 (age 84–85)
Spouse(s)Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden
Mohammed al-Attas
ChildrenOsama bin Laden
RelativesSaad bin Laden (grandson)
Omar bin Laden (grandson)
Abdallah bin Laden (grandson)
Hamza bin Laden (grandson)

Hamida al-Attas (Arabic: حميدة ابراهيم‎, Ḥamīdah Ibrahīm; born 1934)[citation needed] born A'alia Ghanem[4], is the mother of Osama bin Laden. She came from a Syrian family of citrus farmers, with two brothers and another sister, living in two small coastal villages, Omraneya and Babryon, outside the port of Latakia.[2]:72[5][6][7][3][8]:55 She grew up in a family of Alawites, an offshoot of Shia Islam,[9] at age 14, she married Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden in Latakia in 1956 and moved to Saudi Arabia with her husband.[2]:72[4] She was the eleventh wife of Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden,[10] her husband had many wives and he divorced most of them, as having only four wives at once was in accordance with Muslim law.[11] It has been reported that she was a concubine rather than wife of Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden,[11] she was more cosmopolitan than Mohammed's first three Wahhabi Saudi wives.[12]

Osama bin Laden was her only child with Mohammad bin Laden, and they divorced soon after his birth in 1957; Osama was somewhere between the 17th and the 22nd of the 24 sons which Mohammad would sire.[13][14] She often spent summers at her brother Naji's home in Latakia and Osama went with her until he was 17;[4] in 1974, when Osama was 18, he married her brother's daughter, 14-year-old Najwa Ghanem, who had been promised to him.[4]

Hamida later married Mohammed al-Attas,[8][15] a Hadhrami administrator in the fledgling Bin Laden empire, when Osama was four or five;[2]:73 they had three sons and a daughter[1] including Ahmad Mohammed.[11] Osama took an active part in raising his half siblings.[2]:74

It has been reported that, in the spring or summer of 2001, Osama bin Laden placed a phone call to his mother and in a "very brief conversation" told her "that he [will] not be able to call again for a long time," adding that "great events are about to take place." Following the September 11 attacks, Hamida has said "I disapprove of the ambitions the press ascribe to him, but I am satisfied with Osama, and I pray to God that He will guide him along the right path."[10] She later stated “My life was very difficult because he was so far away from me. [Osama] was a very good kid and he loved me so much.” She continued “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.” The person Osama met in college was Abdullah Azzam.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Osama brought up with three half brothers and a half sister". The News International. 8 May 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Wright, Lawrence (2006). The Looming Tower. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 9780307266088.
  3. ^ a b Comras, Victor D. (30 November 2010). Flawed Diplomacy: The United Nations & the War on Terrorism. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books. p. 36. ISBN 9781597974387.
  4. ^ a b c d e Bar'el, Zvi (13 September 2002). "Qaida's Lebanese Hydra". Haaretz. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Taking Out a Terrorist: The Death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi". Anderson Cooper 360° (transcript). 8 June 2006. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  6. ^ Slackman, Michael (13 November 2001). "Bin Laden's mother tried to stop him, Syrian kin say". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  7. ^ Reed, Stanley (6 September 2004). "Prelude To Terror". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on 5 February 2005. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  8. ^ a b Randal, Jonathan C. (2012). Osama: The Making of a Terrorist. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9781780760551. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  9. ^ a b Chulov, Martin (2 August 2018). "My son, Osama: the al-Qaida leader's mother speaks for the first time". The Guardian.
  10. ^ a b "Profile: Hamida al-Attas". History Commons. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  11. ^ a b c "Bin Laden Family Believes Osama Is Alive". CNN Daybreak (transcript). 19 March 2002. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  12. ^ Burke, Jason (1 November 2001). "The making of Osama bin Laden". Salon. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  13. ^ Strozier, Charles B.; Offer, Daniel; Abdyli, Oliger, eds. (2011). The Leader: Psychological Essays. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 124. ISBN 9781441983879. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  14. ^ Coll, Steve (2008). The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century. Penguin Group. pp. 73–76. ISBN 9781594201646. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  15. ^ Bergen, Peter L. (2006). The Osama Bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of Al Qaeda's Leader. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9780743278928. Retrieved 31 January 2018.