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Bin Laden family

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Title: Bin Laden family  
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Bin Laden family

Bin Laden
Bin Ladin
Current region Arabian Peninsula
Place of origin Yemen
Members Osama bin Laden
see Family members
Office building of the bin Laden family

The bin Laden family (Arabic: بن لادن‎, bin Lādin), also spelled bin Ladin, is a wealthy family intimately connected with the innermost circles of the Saudi royal family. The family was thrown into the media spotlight through the activities of one of its members, Osama bin Laden, the former head of Al Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on US government and commercial buildings. The financial interests of the bin Laden family are represented by the Saudi Binladin Group, a global oil and equity management conglomerate grossing US$2 billion annually, and the largest construction firm in the world, with offices in London, Dubai, and Geneva.


  • Beginnings 1
  • Bin Ladens and King Fahd 2
  • Family members 3
    • First generation 3.1
    • Second generation 3.2
    • Third generation 3.3
  • Family tree 4
  • Osama bin Laden's children 5
  • The bin Laden flights 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8


The family traces its origins to a Hadhrami named bin Laden from the village of Al Rubat, in the Wadi Doan in the Tarim Valley, Hadramout governorate, Yemen. He died in 1919. His son was Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (died 1967). Mohammed bin Laden was a native of the Shafi`i (Sunni) Hadhramaut coast in southern Yemen and emigrated to Saudi Arabia prior to World War I. He set up a construction company and came to Abdul Aziz ibn Saud's attention through construction projects, later being awarded contracts for major renovations in Mecca, where he made his initial fortune from exclusive rights to all mosque and other religious building construction not only in Saudi Arabia, but as far as Ibn Saud's influence reached. Until his death, Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden had exclusive control over restorations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Soon the bin Laden corporate network extended far beyond construction sites.

Mohammed's special intimacy with the monarchy was inherited by the younger bin Laden generation. Mohammed's sons attended Victoria College, Alexandria, Egypt. Their schoolmates included King Hussein of Jordan, Zaid Al Rifai, the Kashoggi brothers (whose father was one of the king's physicians), Kamal Adham (who ran the General Intelligence Directorate under King Faisal), present-day contractors Mohammed Al Attas, Fahd Shobokshi and Ghassan Sakr and actor Omar Sharif.

When Mohammed bin Laden died in 1967, his son Salem bin Laden took over the family enterprises, until his own accidental death in 1988. Salem was one of at least 54 children by various wives.

Bin Ladens and King Fahd

The two closest friends of King Fahd were Prince Mohammed bin Abdullah (son of Abdul Aziz ibn Saud's youngest brother) who died in the early 1980s and Salem bin Laden who died in 1988, when an ultralight aircraft that he was flying flew into power lines in San Antonio, Texas.[1]

Family members

American and European intelligence officials estimate that all the relatives of the family may number as many as 600. In 1994, the bin Laden family disowned Osama and the Saudi government revoked his passport.[2] The Saudi government also stripped Osama bin Laden of his citizenship,[2] for publicly speaking out against them regarding their permitting U.S. troops to be based in Saudi Arabia in preparation for the 1991 Gulf War.

The groupings of the family, based on the nationalities of the wives, include the most prominent "Saudi group", a "Syrian group", a "Lebanese group," and an "Egyptian group". The Egyptian group employs 40,000 people as that country's largest private foreign investor. Osama bin Laden was born the only son of Muhammed bin Laden's tenth wife, Alia[3] Hamida al-Attas, who was of Syrian origin,[4] making Osama a member of the Syrian group.

First generation

  • Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (born c. 1909 in Hadhramaut) the family patriarch; before World War I, Mohammed, originally poor and uneducated, emigrated from Hadhramaut, on the south coast of Yemen, to the Red Sea port of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he began to work as a porter. Starting his own business in 1930, Muhammed built his fortune as a building contractor for the Saudi royal family during the 1950s. Married 22 times, with 54 children; his 17th child was Osama bin Laden, who was the son of Alia Ghanem (born in Syria), Muhammed's 10th wife. The couple divorced soon after Osama was born, and Alia was given in marriage, about 1958, to one of the executives of Mohammed's company.[3] In 1967 Mohammed was killed in an airplane crash in Saudi Arabia when his pilot misjudged a landing.
  • Muhammad al-Attas Osama's stepfather, in whose household Osama was raised at Jeddah; worked at the bin Laden company. The couple had four children in addition to Osama: three boys and a girl, Fatima Mohammed al-Attas.
  • Abdallah bin Laden, brother of Mohammed, uncle of Osama; headed SBG, died in Medina, March 21, 2002, at age 75.[5] He also had over 60 children and was married 6 times.

Second generation

  • Salem bin Laden (born 1946) attended Millfield, the English boarding school; took over the family empire in 1967 upon the death of his father; an amateur rock guitarist in the 1970s; married an English art student, Caroline Carey, whose half brother, Ambrose Douglas, is the illegitimate eldest son of the Marquess of Queensberry in Scotland; died outside San Antonio, Texas in 1988, when an experimental ultralight plane that he was flying got tangled in power lines.
  • Tarek bin Laden, b. 1947; once called "the personification of the dichotomy (conservatism and change) of Saudi Arabia."[6]
  • Bakr bin Laden, succeeded Salem as chairman of the Saudi Binladin Group; major power broker in Jeddah.
  • Hassan bin Laden, senior vice president of the SBG.
  • Yehia bin Laden, also active in the SBG; in 2001 owned 16 percent of Cambridge, MA-based Hybridon, Inc.[7]
  • Mahrous bin Laden was implicated in the Grand Mosque Seizure carried out by dissidents against the Saudi ruling family at the Masjid al-Haram in Makka on November 20, 1979. This event shook the Muslim world with the ensuing violence and the killing of hundreds at the holiest of Islamic sites. Trucks owned by the family were reported to have been used to smuggle arms into the tightly controlled city. The bin Laden connection was through the son of a Sultan of Yemen who had been radicalized by Syrian members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mahrous was actually arrested for a time, but in the Saudi government response, he was not beheaded along with 63 others who were, their public executions broadcast live on Saudi television. Later exonerated, he joined the family business and became manager of the Medina branch of the bin Laden enterprises and a member of the board.
  • Osama bin Laden (born 1957 in Saudi Arabia, died May 2, 2011 in Pakistan) masterminded the September 11 attacks against the United States. Death announced on May 2, 2011.[8] He was one of the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists.
  • Najwa Ghanem (born c. 1960 in Syria) Osama's first wife, married 1974; a first cousin, she was his mother's niece. She co-authored Growing Up bin Laden with her son Omar.
  • (Shaikha) Mohammed bin Laden (born c. 1960), half-sister of Osama, married Mohammed Jamal Khalifa. He was the founder of Benevolence International Foundation, in the Philippines in 1988. During this period, Khalifa is believed to have received large donations of cash from outside the country, some of which, intelligence officials suspect, may have been funnelled to him by Al Qaeda. He also ran the International Relations and Information Centre, by which embezzled money was funneled to Ramzi Yousef. In 1993, his business cards were found in the Jersey City, New Jersey apartment that Yousef stayed in while he was involved with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing plot. Khalifa was first arrested on December 14, 1994 in Mountain View, California, placed in solitary confinement, and the contents of his luggage were logged and edited. In 1995 Khalifa was arrested in San Francisco on charges of violating United States immigration laws. He was detained while the Justice Department tried but failed to gather enough information to charge him in connection with suspected terrorist activities. Eventually, he was deported on May 5, 1995 to Jordan, which had an outstanding warrant for him on charges stemming from the bombing of movie theatres in Amman in 1994, for which he had been under a possible death sentence, convicted in absentia. His conviction was later overturned in a new trial, which resulted in an acquittal. In 1996, Khalifa returned to Saudi Arabia, where he was again arrested after 9/11, but later released. He still lives in Saudi Arabia, where after 9/11 he publicly condemned Osama Bin Laden. Mohammed Jamal Khalifa was assassinated in 2007 in Madagascar.
  • Yeslam bin Ladin studied in the 1970s at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles; settled in Switzerland; became a Swiss citizen c. 2001; Geneva-based head of the family's European holding company, the Saudi Investment Company; was scrutinized by Swiss and American investigators because of a financial stake he has in a Swiss aviation firm; he has claimed to not have had contact with Osama since c. 1981[9]
  • Abdullah bin Laden (born c. 1965); graduate of Harvard Law School; lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 9/11, the only Bin Ladin relative to remain in the United States, he stayed in Boston for almost a month following the attacks.
  • Shafig bin Laden (Arabic: شفيق بن لادن‎), half-brother of Osama, was a guest of honour at the Carlyle Group's Washington conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on September 11, 2001, and among the 13 members of the bin Ladin family to leave the United States on September 19, 2001 aboard N521DB.[10][11][12][13][14]
  • Omar Mohammed Awad bin Laden

Third generation

  • Wafah Dufour bin Laden (born Wafah bin Ladin on May 23, 1979 in Los Angeles, California), daughter of Yeslam bin Laden, is an American model and aspiring singer-songwriter. She spent the early part of her life in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Dufour, her little sisters Najia (1979) and Noor (1987), her mother (1954) and her father (born on October 19, 1950) then moved to Geneva, Switzerland. In 1988, her parents separated. She earned a law diploma at Geneva Law School (Switzerland) and later a master's degree from Columbia Law School in the United States. She lived in Manhattan until around the time of the September 11, 2001, attacks, but was staying in Geneva for summer holiday at the time of the attacks. She currently lives in London and is working on her first album.
  • Abdulla Osama bin Laden (born c. 1976), son of Osama and Najwa. He is reportedly residing in Saudi Arabia, and runs his own firm, called Fame Advertising, in Jeddah;[3] he is closely watched by the Saudi government, which has restricted his travel from the kingdom since 1996; reportedly, he has never disowned his father.[15]
  • Saad bin Laden; (born 1979) son of Osama and Najwa; Saad accompanied Osama on his exile to Sudan from 1991 to 1996, and then to Afghanistan after that. He was believed to be married to a woman from Yemen. Saad reportedly arrived in Iran in 2002 from Afghanistan, with a fake Iranian Passport using the name Saad Mahmoudian. The Customs officer immediately recognized that the passport was fake and searched and questioned Saad briefly. He notified airport security but did not notitify the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of Iran (which is also responsible for identifying detained people at airports) as he was supposed to. As a result, the officer found nothing suspicious about his entrance and permitted him to leave Tehran. He was believed to have been heavily responsible for the bombing of a Tunisian synagogue on April 11, 2002. He was then implicated in the May 12, 2003, suicide bombing in Riyadh, and the Morocco bombing four days later. He was put under house arrest by the Iran government,[16] but later escaped[16] by January 2009[17] and fled to Pakistan.[17] Saad was later killed in a US drone strike in 2009.[18] Ayman al-Zawahiri confirmed Saad's death in a videotape three years later.[19][20]
  • Omar Osama bin Laden; (born 1980) son of Osama and Najwa; Omar accompanied Osama on his exile to Sudan from 1991 to 1996, and then to Afghanistan after that. He returned to Saudi Arabia after an apparent falling-out with his father over Omar's disagreement with violence. For a while Omar ran his own company in Jeddah as a contractor. Omar has one son, Ahmed, by his ex-wife, whom he had divorced 3 times by 2006. In September 2006, he married Zaina and they are now said to be living in a secret location in Qatar.
  • Mohammad bin Osama bin Laden (born c. 1983), son of Osama and Najwa, married the daughter of al-Qaeda leader Mohammed Atef in January 2001, at Kandahar, Afghanistan, with footage broadcast by Al-Jazeera, where three of Osama's step-siblings and Osama's mother were in attendance.
  • Hamza bin Laden (born 1991), son of Osama. Was being groomed to be Osama's heir following Saad's death.[18]
  • Khaled bin Laden, son of Osama. Killed along with his father at Abbottabad, Pakistan, May 2, 2011.[21]
  • Abdul Aziz bin Laden, manages SBG's Egyptian operations; ranked Number 2 in the 2006 UAE National Superstock Bike Championship.[22]

Family tree

Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (1908–1967)
His sons were:
  1. Salem bin Laden (1946–1988) married Caroline Carey
  2. Ali bin Laden
  3. Thabet bin Laden (d. 2009)
  4. Mahrous bin Laden
  5. Hassan bin Laden
  6. Bakr bin Laden
  7. Khalid bin Laden
  8. Yeslam bin Ladin (born 1950) married Carmen bin Ladin (born 1954)
  9. Wafah Dufour (born 1978)
  10. Najia Dufour (born 1979)
  11. Noor Dufour (born 1987)
  12. Ghalib bin Laden
  13. Yahya bin Laden
  14. Abdul Aziz bin Laden
  15. Issa bin Laden
  16. Tarek bin Laden
  17. Ahmed bin Laden
  18. Ibrahim bin Laden
  19. Shafiq bin Laden
  20. Osama bin Laden (1957–2011) married Najwa Ghanem (born 1960)
  21. Khalil bin Ladin
  22. Saleh bin Ladin
  23. Haider bin Laden
  24. Saad bin Laden
  25. Abdullah bin Laden
  26. Yasser bin Laden
  27. Mohammad bin Laden (born 1967)
  28. Osama bin Laden's children

    Osama bin Laden's known children, from his respective wives, include

    • Najwa Ghanem
      • Abdullah bin Laden (born 1976)
      • Abdul Rahman bin Laden (born 1978)
      • Saad bin Laden (1979-2009) killed in a drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region in 2009[23]
      • Omar bin Laden (born 1981) married Zaina Alsabah-Bin laden 2006 to date
      • Osman bin Laden (born 1983)
      • Mohammed bin Osama bin Laden (born 1983)
      • Fatima bint Laden (born 1987)
      • Iman bint Laden (born 1990)
      • Laden "Bakr" bin Laden (born 1993)
      • Rukhaiya bint Laden (born 1997)
      • Nour bin Laden (born 1999)
    • Khadijah Sharif
      • Ali bin Laden (born 1986)
      • Amer bin Laden (born 1990)
      • Aisha bint Laden (born 1992)
    • Khairiah Sabar
    • Siham Sabar
      • Khalid bin Laden (1988–2011) Killed during the Navy SEAL raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan
      • Khadija bint Laden (born 1988)
      • Miriam bint Laden (born 1990)
      • Sumaiya bint Laden (born 1992)
    • Amal Fateh al-Sadah
      • Safiyah bint Laden (born 2001)
      • Aasiah bint Laden (born 2003)
      • Ibrahim bin Laden (born 2004)
      • Zainab bint Laden (born 2006)
      • Hussein bin Laden (born 2008)

    The bin Laden flights

    At least 13 relatives of Osama bin Laden, accompanied by bodyguards and associates, left the United States on a chartered flight with Ryan International Airlines (Ryan International Flight 441)[24] eight days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to a passenger manifest released on July 21, 2004.[25] The passenger list was made public by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who obtained the manifest from officials at Boston's Logan International Airport. None of the flights, domestic or international, took place before the reopening of national airspace on the morning of Sept. 13 and the 9/11 Commission found "no evidence of a political intervention".[26]

    Among the passengers with the bin Laden surname were Omar Awad bin Laden, who had lived with OBL nephew Abdallah Awad bin Laden who was involved in forming the U.S. branch of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth in Alexandria, and Shafig bin Laden, a half brother of OBL who was reportedly attending the annual investor conference of the Carlyle Group.[25]

    Also on board was Akberali Moawalla, an official with the investment company run by Yeslam bin Ladin, another of Osama bin Laden's half brothers. Records show that a passenger, Kholoud Kurdi, lived in Northern Virginia with a bin Laden relative.[25]

    The bin Laden flight has received fresh publicity because it was a topic in Michael Moore's controversial documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.

    The 9/11 Commission found that the: "FBI conducted a satisfactory screening of Saudi nationals who left the United States on charter flights. The Saudi government was advised of and agreed to the FBI's requirements that passengers be identified and checked against various databases before the flights departed. The Federal Aviation Administration representative working in the FBI operations center made sure that the FBI was aware of the flights of Saudi nationals and was able to screen the passengers before they were allowed to depart."[26]


    1. ^ PBS "Frontline"
    2. ^ a b bin Laden, Osama. The History Channel website. Retrieved on 8 April 2007.
    3. ^ a b c Steve Coll (12 December 2005). "Letter From Jedda, Young Osama, How he learned radicalism, and may have seen America". The New Yorker. Retrieved 5 December 2005. 
    4. ^ " News – The making of Osama bin Laden".  
    5. ^ "Abdullah bin Laden hasiisoososos". Retrieved 21 September 2008. 
    6. ^ Kenneth C. Crowe (26 May 1976). "The Dichotomy of Saudi Arabia". 
    7. ^ Boston Herald, 9/2/01
    8. ^ "Osama claims responsibility for 9/11". The Times of India. May 24, 2006. 
    9. ^ Interview with Osama bin Laden's Brother Yaslam bin Laden
    10. ^ Eric Alterman, Mark J. Green (2004). The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America.  
    11. ^ James K. Glassman (June 2006). "Big Deals. David Rubenstein and His Partners Have Made Billions With the Carlyle Group, the World’s Hottest Private Equity Firm. How Have They Made All That Money? Why Are They in Washington?" (PDF).  
    12. ^ "The Carlyle Group: C for Capitalism".  
    13. ^ Ed Vulliamy (2002-05-16). "Dark heart of the American dream".  
    14. ^ Michel Chossudovsky (2013-04-13). "Is Kissing a "State Sponsor of Terrorism" a "Terrorist Act"? Political Satire".  
    15. ^ "The House of bin Laden". The New Yorker. November 5, 2001. Retrieved June 20, 2006. 
    16. ^ a b Associated Press (March 15, 2010). "Bin Laden's son says Iran should free his siblings". USA Today. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
    17. ^ a b Greg Miller (January 17, 2009). "Osama bin Laden's son may be in Pakistan too". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
    18. ^ a b Christina Lamb (May 7, 2012). "Iran double-crossed Osama bin Laden". The Australian. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
    19. ^
    20. ^
    21. ^ Scott Wilson, Craig Whitlock, and William Branigin, "Osama bin Laden killed in U.S. raid, buried at sea", The Washington Post, May 2, 2011.
    22. ^ "The pulse-pounding excitement is set to continue at the third Motor Sport Club Raceday.". March 16, 2006. Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
    23. ^
    24. ^ PENTTBOM Team (April 13, 2007). Article (Re: Binladen Family Departures After 09/11/2001)"Vanity Fair"Response to October 2003 (PDF). Federal Bureau of Investigation (hosted at JudicialWatch). p. 34. 
    25. ^ a b c Dana Milbank (July 22, 2004). "Plane Carried 13 Bin Ladens: Manifest of Sept. 19, 2001, Flight From U.S. Is Released". Washington Post. p. A07. 
    26. ^ a b 9/11 Commission. "9/11 Commission Report". 

    Further reading

    • Coll, Steve (April 1, 2008). The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century. Penguin. 
    • Bin Laden's daughter free to leave Tehran: Iran FM (AFP December 25, 2009)
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