Najwa umm Abdullah Ghanem MP

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Birthdate: (53)
Birthplace: Latakia, Al Ladhiqiyah, Syria
Occupation: First cousin, Uncle's daughter
Managed by: Geoffrey Trowbridge
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • husband
    • Abdullah
    • Abdul
    • Omar
    • Osman
    • Mohammed
    • Fatima
    • Iman
    • Ladin Bakr
    • Rukhaiya
    • Nour

About Najwa umm Abdullah Ghanem

Najwa Ghanem is a Syrian woman who is the first wife and first cousin of Osama bin Laden. Her father is the brother of Osama's mother, Hamida al-Attas, neé A'alia Ghanem. Najwa was "promised" in marriage to Osama. She is the mother of Saad bin Laden, as well as at least 10 more sons. She co-authored Growing Up bin Laden with her son Omar.

Osama bin Laden (1957-2011) married Najwa Ghanem (b. 1960)

Osama's first wife Najwa whom he married in 1974; was a first cousin, and his mother's niece. She wrote a book together with her son Omar, Growing Up bin Laden - Google Books. Najwa had seven sons and four daughters with Osama, with Omar bin Laden being her fourth child.

In 1974, at the age of 15, Najwa married her first cousin, 17-year-old Osama bin Laden.

She had grown up in a conservative Muslim household; he was one of the wealthy, powerful bin Ladens. She recalls a young husband drawn away on business and her life of seclusion and duty, giving birth to seven sons and four daughters, accepting other wives and children into the family and its itinerant homes.

Omar, the fourth child of Osama and Najwa, recalls a severely strict father: no toys, no ventilators for boys who suffered from asthma, hikes in the desert with no water. Omar remembers accompanying his father to a training camp at 15 and their later confrontations—and eventual break—as he began to understand his father’s involvement in al-Qaeda.

He also recalls conflicting emotions, including love and pride in his father and eventually shame for his father’s renown as a terrorist and architect of the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. A compelling look at the intimate family life of a notorious man, as told by his wife and son. --Vanessa Bush

“Fascinating. . . . Together, Najwa and Omar provide an intimate account of a family life that became steadily more dangerous and bizarre. . . . From affluence and comfort in Jeddah they were reduced to penury and privation in Afghanistan, all the wives and their many children living without electricity, running water, or even real beds, in forced pursuit of Osama’s jihadist dreams.” —The Washington Post

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Najwa Ghanem's Timeline

Latakia, Al Ladhiqiyah, Syria
Age 14
Age 19
Ar Riyad, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia