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Silver 2019 People / Family

Osama Bin Laden’S Mother, Alia Ghanem

  • Photographer
    David Levene
  • Agency / Studio
    David Levene Ltd
  • Prize
    Silver in People / Family

Osama bin Laden’s mother, Alia Ghanem, photographed at her home in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for The Guardian. Ghanem described Osama bin Laden as a man who is, to her, still a beloved son who somehow lost his way. She recalled her firstborn as a shy boy who was academically capable. He became a strong, driven, pious figure in his early 20s and then became radicalised, Ghanem says, while studying economics at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah. “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.”