Questions from Osama Bin Laden’s family

I’ve had so many people who read the book about Osama’s wife and son to ask me to relate to Omar and his mother Najwa that they feel badly for what they must be going through.  It didn’t help the situation when Najwa’s mother died of a massive stroke after being told about her son-in-law.  Now Najwa has lost her beloved mother, a sweet lady who lived in Syria.

As everyone knows who has read the book GROWING UP BIN LADEN, I’m an American who was very upset about 9/11.  My heart was racing as I watched every moment of that day — My heart ached as I followed all those tragic stories.  I mourned for every life lost on that horrific day.  I’ve also carried anguish in my heart for those young people in Bali who died needlessly, for the victims of the Embassy bombings in Africa, for the victims of the train bombings in Spain, and for the innocent lives lost in the bus bombings in the UK, and for anyone who was killed for no reason at other other than for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  That could have been me, or you, or our loved ones.

While mourning for all these innocent lives, I still knew that Omar, his mother, and the other children were innocent of any wrong doing.  Osama ruled with a rigid hand — his family had no say-so in his militant activities, although his son Omar was brave enough to protest about any violence, both to his father, and to the world, once he had left Afghanistan on his own in mid-2001.

Although everyone thought that at some time Osama would be captured by the US Military, the family did not believe that the would be killed.  They believed that he would be arrested and taken to a court of law.  For this reason they went through temporary shock to come out very upset.  They are asking three questions:  When Osama did not resist, why wasn’t he arrested?  After being killed, why didn’t the family get to identify him?  Why was he buried at sea when that is against their Islamic beliefs?  (Other than in specific circumstances.)  

These are the questions for which they are seeking answers…

About jeansasson

I'm a woman with a keen interest in a wide range of topics including women's issues; animal rights issues; humanitarian issues and political movements, such as the events currently sweeping the Middle East. I am an avid reader and collector of books, mainly about travelers of the 18th and 19th centuries. I have enormous curiosity about other people and relish hearing about lives and opinions of people from all over the world. I’m the author of the PRINCESS series, GROWING UP BIN LADEN, MAYADA DAUGHTER OF IRAQ, FOR THE LOVE OF A SON, and more. Over the past few years the princess and I have met and worked together to bring out a 4th, 5th and 6th book. The 4th is titled: PRINCESS, MORE TEARS TO CRY while the 5th is titled: PRINCESS, SECRETS TO SHARE. The 6th, titled PRINCESS, STEPPING OUT OF THE SHADOWS is to be released in October 2018. I am currently working on my memoirs. Details to be released soon. You can visit my website ( or check out my books on Amazon for more info.
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45 Responses to Questions from Osama Bin Laden’s family

  1. Carmen says:

    This is what I think about the family questions. Knowing the way that USA acts about some things, I think that if the mission would have been to kill him, they would have done any other way, a missile for example. The fact that they went inside the compound not knowing what they were going to face inside, suggest that yes, they went ready to do anything, but to capture him was probably the first intention. Is there a window that he somehow resisted?

    The fact that there was not a plan for a family member to identify him should be another proof that kill him was not perhaps the first intention. It is not easy to face anybody with this sensitive task.

    The sea burial I don’t get either….

    My heart goes out to all family members, because I understand that they are victims as well, specially to Mrs Ghanem who also lost her dear mother. May peace be with you all. What’s done (old and new) it’s done, and for our sake the best is try to put all behind. Fold the page at last…

    • jeansasson says:

      You raise many good points, Carmen. We’ll never know exactly what was the plan and what went down. I agree with you that the time has come to try and put this behind us all, IF we can. Of course, it is difficult for any of the victim’s families to put this behind them. Their lives will be forever sad.

  2. Hi Jean,

    I began writing a response which turned into 3 pages. I am so profoundly moved by your book “Growing Up Bin Laden” and earnestly wanted to respond to you, Omar, and Najwa at length in response to their courageous sharing, and try to address some of their questions that perhaps have no real answers. I ended up sending you the letter through your web site- as it was so long, involved and personal that I felt it inappropriate to be taking up band width on this thoughtful post.

    Please do let me know if you receive it successfully.


    Leila A. Fortier

    • jeansasson says:

      Leila, I did get your message and read it twice. It was very profound… I promise to respond. I really have been skipping meals so you now I’ve been overwhelmed. But, I thank you for your letter. Warm regards, Jean

  3. Theo Ichtus says:

    This is a ‘remote control’ world. I can switch the channel of my TV set, play my Wii and fly my helicopter at a distance. Blowing up the trains in Madrid has shown that ‘the Osama team’ also knows a few things about the technical possibilities if I remember correct, for those explosives were detonated through use of cell phones.
    The released footage of Osama even shows him with a remote control in his hand, surrounded by electronic gadgets (satellite receiver, TV’s). His followers have shown time and again that they are perfectly willing to blow themselves up amongst their enemies and he – being the leader – is supposed to do the same, I would think.

    Was the compound undermined with high explosives? Unknown at the time of the raid. If it is, who has the remote? Also unknown. Are there several remote controllers that each can start the explosions? Unknown. What does the remote look like?

    Many unknowns in my opinion.

    In the past, have there been people killed while storming the hide out of terrorists when the terrorist blew up the whole house, rather than surrender?

    Known – the answer is ‘Yes it has happened on more than one occasion’.

    Now there you are in the middle of the night in a fire fight, trying to apprehend the leader of that pack. (it is not as if there was no one shooting at those insanely brave navy seals, it is just with the 20/20 vision of hindsight that the resistance through firearms was less than expected) There were weapons in the room where Osama was killed, one of them being an AK-47. And we do not know if the compound really was undermined. But going in there they must most certainly have considered the likelihood that it was, given the ideology of the person they were after. Headshot = instant dead = not to worry about pushing a ‘last resort button’ you may have missed.

    Now there’s a famous corpse.

    But he is not only a corpse, he is also a symbol. He willingly made himself to be that symbol. Do you want a big burial televised? Grieving widows being interviewed after identifying the body?

    Ending up as fishfood serves him right, in my book. AND he got some sort of religious ritual with it – others got two burning towers on top of them…

    • jeansasson says:

      Yes, she did say it very nice and politely… As I said, this is such a complicated issue. While Osama forfeited his life with orders to kill innocents, the family is still innocent. At this point, I agree that it is time to move and try to build bridges… So much hate in the world — hopefully the world can now heal if we have one less person trying to kill innocent people.

    • jeansasson says:

      You are in the majority and no one can fault you for that… As I’ve said many times, I’m haunted by those murdered on 9/11… I just always like to think of the USA as going right by the book, but sometimes that is not feasible. Thanks for your note — I appreciate the time it took you to write about this.

      Talk later, Jean

    • jeansasson says:

      Yes, you are telling us things that most non-military types like me would not think of. Perhaps there could have been a suicide belt, etc. I can well imagine that the Seals were told not to take any chances.

      And, I agree, we can never ever forget those towers and the thousands of innocents who died in them. It was one of the most horrible days in America’s history. I’m forever haunted by the jumpers… I had been in the towers before, and on the top floor at the restaurant once. I can’t imagine how unbearable it was in those burning towers that jumping seemed a good option. Thanks for your input…. Jean

  4. Cara says:

    Theo Ichtus said it far more politely than I ever could. Sorry Jean.

  5. Tony Espinosa says:

    The best thing the bin Laden family can do is either ask those that were killed by their father misguided acts for forgiveness or remain silent, their father chose to live by the sword and died by the sword. He will be remebered byt what he was, a fanatic and a murderer.

    • jeansasson says:

      It’s very difficult to enter another person’s life. While I know that the Bin Ladens were extremely distraught about 9/11, for them, Osama was a father and a husband, etc., and I think it is very difficult not to think emotionally when one is a family member. Logic just doesn’t come into it… Thanks, Tony. It’s important that we are all able to discuss this issue with calm, even when there are varying opinions.

  6. Ali says:

    I read an interview with Omar in Rolling Stone a while back, I have been wanting to buy your book ever since. As soon as I get the money I will! Omar has stuck in my mind since that interview and I must admit I have been googling him every day since his fathers death to see if he would put out a statement. I feel like Osama would rather of went out the way he did than being arrested and put on trial. Although to us he was public enemy #1, he was nonetheless a warrior! And unfortunately we are at war. I think when Omar and his family are out of shock they will realize this too, at least I hope so. Kudos to you for being someone they can trust to get their words out.

    • jeansasson says:

      Ali, I hope you get the book soon too! Where are you? In the USA? Probably Osama would have chosen a quick end to a lengthy trial. We’ll never know the answer to that question, though. Thanks for writing… Jean

      • Ali says:

        Jean, yes I am in the USA. Florida to be exact. You are right we’ll never know. I hope Omar and his family are doing ok, I have been reading some pretty disturbing reactions to their statements and it really bothers me. I wouldn’t even begin to try to compare with Omar, but in a way less severe set of circumstances……no parent is perfect. I know I have paid for things my parents did wrong, even if at the time they thought it was right. All I can hope is to learn from that and do the best I can for my daughter. It is a sad situation for them.
        I don’t spend money on myself very often, as most moms don’t in this economy, but I do plan on getting the book soon! I can’t wait! Have a good one.

    • jeansasson says:

      Did you get the book yet, Ali? I’d love to know your opinion when you do! Have a lovely day, Jean

      • Ali says:

        Yes! I finally got it! I started reading a couple of hours ago and have not been able to put it down. My daughter is out of school for the summer and I am looking forward to lying on the beach with more of your books! I will definately give you my full review when I am finished with this one, loving it so far. Najwa is a very strong person and devoted mother, I like getting to know her.

  7. Afshan says:


    The questions asked by Osama’s family are all valid and must be answered. I think there are some loop holes in the story as the unnecessary action of burial in the sea. But of all the hype created about Osama I still can not believe that only one man has changed the world so much. i havent read your novel yet but I am planning to buy it because I am very much curious to know that who has created Osama, as commonly known in Pakistan that actually initially America was the one to do the funding for Osama for Afghanistan’s war with Russia. I hope I can get this idea clear by reading your novel. Despite all the wrongdoings and murders committed by Osama, his family has the right to mourn. We can not even imagine the psychological stress they have been under all these years for being a relative of Osama ofcourse not to their own choice. And I dont think that Osama’s family should ask for forgiveness on his account because they never supported him for his doings. He will be himself accountable for his doings infront of God.

    • jeansasson says:

      It’s been very difficult for the family since the day they had to leave Saudi Arabia and start a lonely trek from one country to the other. Osama seemed fine with the upheavals, but it was very difficult on his family. I hope you get the book so you can read the personal story. It will let you know that Omar is very courageous and always spoke against violence. Thanks, Afshan… Jean

  8. Jay Weichselbaum says:

    If Osama’s Family really cared about these things(funeral arrangements, trial under presumption of innocence–(and other very American notions,notably) and believed he would be captured,they and Osama should have suerendered him, perhaps via a Pakistani negotiation. Instead, Osama continued his criminal activities while living a comfortable life. He and his family had options and made choices. Now the family has to accept the results of those choices, however difficult that may be. Obama’s decisions re sea burial, etc. Reasonably flow from the circumstances created by Osama and those around him. Unlike the other victims in this story.

    • jeansasson says:

      You are right, Jay, that the victims had no choice. They went to work and got killed or gravely wounded. The thing is that the family had no way of controlling Osama. The women lived in a culture where they were totally isolated and probably never knew what all was going on. The children were all very young up until the time they were leaving Sudan to go to Afghanistan, and even then, they were not in a position to stop Osama from doing anything. For Omar to even speak out against his father is unheard of in the Muslim culture. Anyway, it is so very complicated, but the main thing is to never forget the people who died…. Thanks so much for writing… Jean

  9. devir says:

    Dear Jean,

    In your book, you reveal Osama’s birthday as February 15, 1957, in the early morning hours. However, some documents inform March 10, 1957. Are these documents wrong?

    Osama’s birthday is a real mistery for astrologers around the world, and maybe you could solve the enigma 🙂 Do you know his time of birth? And about Omar’s birthday?

    Thanks and keep writing these marvelous books 🙂
    Alexey Dodsworth.

    • jeansasson says:

      Hey, I think I have already answered your question on my hotmail account. Osama was born on February 15th. All other sources have it wrong. I do not know the time of his birth and no one else knows it either. Omar was born in March 1981, but he does not know the date. Arabs don’t follow birthdays like we do in the west. So sorry I can’t help you out further…. Good luck, Jean

  10. Jimmy says:

    Guess what, lady, Omar doesn’t get answers. Just like families of 9/11 didn’t get answers. He’s not entitled to answers any more than they are/were. But I’ll give it a try…

    Why did we kill his father instead of arrest him? Because we’re the United States of America, that’s why. Did we violate international law? We ARE international law, so deal with it.

    Why bury him at sea? So that militant extremists couldn’t make a shrine to Obama on land – have fun finding him in the ocean and making a floating tomb/shrine. You want to blow something up out there, go for it. I don’t personally give to sh!ts what your beliefs are about sea burials – he got more than he deserved. Should have kept his @$$ alive just long enough to drop it from a helicopter at 10,000 feet, onto the Pakistani intelligence service’s headquarters. “Hey, we found him for you!”

    Why didn’t the family get to identify him? Identify what, a blown out skull? Look, most victims’ families didn’t get to identify their loved ones after 9/11, let alone bury them (at sea or elsewhere). So deal with it.

    Who the hell does Omar bin Laden think he is to demand answers? And why does anyone think the family is entitled to anything but exile?

    • jeansasson says:

      Well, the bulk of my compassion is for the victims of any terror attack. And, it is so tragic that many do not have a shard of bone to bury. Nothing is worse than that. And, I have never defended anyone who intentionally harmed innocent people. However, I have found compassion in my heart for the family, who really have done nothing to harm anyone. They knew Osama as a father and although they did not agree with him, they loved him. I don’t question that possibililty, as I know that mothers love their sons even when they are serial killers on death row. They are speaking from an emotional place and I would not see the harm in their having proof of death. Who would that harm? Someone has to be first to offer up compassion, otherwise, it is a never ending battle of wills and hate. But, this is a good place for people to vent, so I’m glad you joined us. Jean

  11. David Robinson says:

    Quite honestly, who cares what OBL’s relatives want? I bet all the families who’s relatives were vaporized by exploding jet planes on 9/11 would’ve loved to have remains as well. But it isn’t happening. OBL got a much better and much quicker end than he deserved. And it’s absolutely laughable that OBL’s family believes their mass murdering relative deserved some sort of protection under International Law and a “presumption of innocence” after releasing numerous videos over the years claiming responsibility for 9/11 and gloating over the success of the attacks. Omar Bin Laden can go to hell right alongside his old man.

    • jeansasson says:

      David, you are right in that most people don’t care what they want. And, you are right that all the families who lost their loved ones would love to have remains. Certainly our government did everything in their power to find everyone. And, they have been working diligently since that time to track down everyone responsible. They have done an admirable job. Yet, as I said above, who does it harm for any family, including this family, to have proof of death. They would rest easier, and that does not bother me that they would.

  12. jeansasson says:

    Dear All, I will respond to each and every comment within the next couple of days. Lots going on now and out of time. I appreciate everyone taking the time to comment, even those who are angry at me… 9/11 was such a horrific event, and I, like everyone else was anguished. Because I met the family, I had an different situation from most, and very slowly learned that they are innocent people, nothing like many people believe they are only because their last name is Bin Laden. ANYHOW, I will write more later, and thanks to everyone, again. Jean

  13. saison1 says:

    I doubt Obama will continue his reelection bid for president after he related to “60 Minutes” the details of his involvement in the extra-judicial killing of bin Laden especially violated the oath of office he took to protect, preserve and defend the Consititution of the U.S. his actions not consistent with a few of its amendments.

    • Jimmy says:

      Where in the Constitution of the United States of America does it say that enemies who’ve declared war on the United States of America can’t be killed? Get serious. This is war – they declared it. Recall Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s quote after Pearl Harbor: “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” Same thing, sister. Bin Laden and Merry Men declared war on the U.S. ten years ago – it’s ongoing, it’s ugly but it’s their war. I’m no huge Obama fan but I’ll tell you this: not only will he continue his re-election bid, but the Republicans might as well give up the fight. They’ve already lost. Don’t like healthcare? He got Bin Laden. Economy not at full strength yet? He got Bin Laden. It doesn’t matter what the Republicans say, he got Bin Laden. 2012 is over – five more years in office, honey.

    • jeansasson says:

      Saison, when I get some spare time, I’ll read the link you sent. Jean

  14. saison1 says:

    Who declared war on the U.S.? What war? terrorism? 4, 5, 6, 14 th Amendments of the U.S. Constititution—the idea of a trial. Even Hitler’s henchmen those identified got a day in court at Nuremberg that killed more innocent people than bin Laden. What about the millions Bush killled while in office and he’s living comfortably in a ranch in Texas? Wasn’t he the one that flew out the bin Laden family the day after the World Trade Center twin towers blown up while they lived here or vacationed on September 2, 2001?? Why didn’t he capture him and bring him to justice. bin Laden should have been capture and brought to justice!!! Do you mean its the ruling class war, the one where thousands of Puerto Rican, Black, white working class youth fight so the ruling classes suck up the world’s resources for themselves while the rest scramble for the crumbs they leave behind? Obama oath of office, “to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution of the U.S. Al-Qaeda, diminished much after 9/11 so many of them hunted down though it still exist, why not arrest bin Laden? Why rush to extra judicially killed him now at this time? The bin Laden family has a right to question why he wasn’t given a trial, why his body dumped at sea against Muslin customs and not turned over to them. Why shoot down a man cold-blooded in front of his wives and children, his 12 year old had to identify him after they literally blew off his face? Why not bring Osama to justice? Your points like many other Americans is misdirected. He should have been captured and afforded a trial. But that of course would have exposed the U.S. complicity in what had happened on 9/11, so better just dump his body at Sea. Wake up this is not our war. The ruling classes of the U.S., the same folks Obama extended the taxes so they get wealthier at our expense. We got him! What did we really get? That now our soldiers if captured now will be killed and tortured instead of held as prisoners of war killed and assasinated because we fail to abide by treaties we sign on how to deal with prisioners of war?

  15. Jimmy says:

    Here we go, now it’s a race thing, huh? Now you lose me. But I’ll respond later. You’re being ridiculous.

  16. jeansasson says:

    I’d love it if everyone could maintain their cool and have calm conversations about this topic. However, I know it is an extremely emotional issue, so let’s try not to get intentionally cruel to one another.

  17. trishla says:

    i think it is justice for americans to capture bin laden as they have lost nearly 3000 citizens and my heart goes to the wives who were not told that their husband were terrorists n their sons were militants specially those wives who lived with him inside the compound and saffiya who witnessed her fathers death and even though usa is saying that they have buried osama in the sea or his gravesite will be an institution for terrorist camp but isnt it against the moral code of ethics

  18. Adryana Ricci Gião says:

    There’s no reason for someone to be angry at you, Jean! You wrote a great book and showed to me and many other readers how complicated and hard was the Bin Laden’s life. A Family shouldn’t be blamed for the mistakes, serious mistakes of one member!!
    They loved Osama, but they really didn’t agree with his acts!! They begged him to change his ways, to stop that violence but he didn’t listen to them.

  19. Adryana Ricci Gião says:

    Omar is a brave man and I admire him more and more! However he knew his father wasn’t in the right way and didn’t followed him, his steps through a violent march. During all his life since childhood he wanted to conquer his father’s respect and love, and he got it. Osama trusted him to be his successor in the leading of Al Qaeda. Osama’s feelings for his sons were mixed with his entire dedication and passion for “The Cause”. I guess that in his mind, when he tought of Omar replacing him in comand, was a form of saying, ‘I love you my son’. In his mind that would be an honour for his chosen son Omar. When his successor didn’t accept the honour, he felt very disappointed. Fortunately Omar didn’t share the same point of view, he wants peace, he ‘s sure that the war language isn’t the best one to solve the problems in this world. I agree with him.

  20. Adryana Ricci Gião says:

    Omar is a brave man and I admire him more and more! comand. Fortunately Omar wants peace, he ‘s sure that the war language isn’t the best one to solve the problems in this world. I agree with him.

  21. Adryana Ricci Gião says:

    Omar is a brave man and I admire him more and more! . Fortunately Omar wants peace, he ‘s sure that the war language isn’t the best one to solve the problems in this world. I agree with him.

  22. Adryana Ricci Gião says:

    Omar is a brave man and I admire him more and more! Omar wants peace, he ‘s sure that the war language isn’t the best one to solve the problems in this world. I agree with him.

  23. I would also like to know the answers for these and other questions. Since 2TH May the White House has been showing versions that correct versions of what happened in Abbottabad. Perhaps it is to protect the US of charges for other crimes committed by the SEAL assault on OBL and part of his family. First claimed that a woman was used as a hostage, then there was no hostage, said that there would be a son, mentioned a few times and unclear, and children, in numbers not listed yet. Some people in the house, never prosecuted or sentenced, were executed. There is no evidence that they have reacted. What was called in Brazil “chacina”, the collective execution, a massacre. Whatever became of her son allegedly killed Bin Laden? Why and where the corpse was kidnapped? Nobody tells. There is still much debate about the criminal nature (or not), the Seals operation. I fear that some questions will never be answered … Let us not forget that OBL ordered and committed the worst crimes that humanity has ever known. The terrorist acts of Al Qaeda victimized thousands of people in America, Europe and the Middle East. He needed to pay for everything he did. But I personally do not approve of their summary execution. He should have been brought to a court, tried and convicted. I heard similar views in Brazil. Even a Senator who spoke against the circumstances of the death of OBL. Eduardo Suplicy (Workers Party of São Paulo) showed solidarity with the victims of the attacks led by bin Laden, but he defended a fair trial for the leader of al-Qaeda. I believe that by invading a sovereign state without authorization, to catch someone, the US violated the “principle of abduction,” according to which a citizen to be sent to another country must respond to an extradition process. However, as the US are part of the UN Security Council and would not vote against their own interests, besides being one of the countries that do not accept the Treaty of Rome of 1998, do not expect that something be done about the murder of OBL. I hope the widows and children are not treated unfairly because they are innocent. Innocent even of being in the company of OBL. As for Omar, I wish the whole world to hear their pleas for peace. He has a beautiful story of overcoming that could inspire many youngsters to follow the path of peace.

  24. jeansasson says:

    This is such an emotional issue. I see everyone’s point on this one. It is very difficult for those who have lost loved one, or anyone who feels for the victims, to find any compassion for Osama’s family. I would have probably felt the same way had I not personally come to know Omar and his mother and know the details of their lives. And, to know that Omar hates violence and repeatedly called on his father to stop the violence. Despite his disagreement with his father over violence, he still loved his father as his father. I think most of us can understand that, too. At any rate, this is an issue that will never be calmly discussed, and I understand that, too….

  25. jeansasson says:

    Hi Ali! This is grand news! I’m so glad you have the book and that you are reading it. Please keep me informed and let me know when you finish and what you think! I will answer your questions, of course! Have a lovely read! Jean

  26. Kori Lyn says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed Growing Up Bin Laden. I found it fascinating and insightful. However, I am wondering if Omar and his mother had the support of the extended bin Laden family (in Saudi Arabia), as well as his siblings in telling their story. Also, since bin Laden’s death, have they been reunited with the remaining members of their immediate family?

  27. jeansasson says:

    Hi Kori Lyn, Thanks so much for your note. I’m so pleased that you found the book an important read. That means a lot to me.

    As far as the family, I really cannot make comments on what has happened to them privately since the book was published. I’m sure you will understand.

    Many thanks, once again, Jean

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