A British divorcee said Wednesday she has married Omar bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader’s fourth son, after they met in Egypt last fall.
Jane Felix-Browne, a 51-year-old grandmother from Moulton, Cheshire, in northwestern England, told British media she met bin Laden, 27, while riding a horse near Egypt’s Great Pyramid and they married in April. The Times and Sun newspapers, which initially reported the story, said she was in Egypt for medical treatment for multiple sclerosis at the time.
The couple has held Islamic marriage ceremonies in both Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Felix-Browne said. She said she is his second wife — Islam allows men to have up to four wives.
There was no independent confirmation of her claim that she married him or that he was indeed Osama bin Laden’s son. The Sun printed a copy of what it said was their wedding certificate and pictures purportedly showing the couple in Egypt.
Felix-Browne, who also uses the name Zaina Mohamad, is a parish councilor, with three children by previous marriages and five grandchildren. This would be her sixth marriage.
Says she's unsure bin Laden a terrorist
She said was hoping to arrange a visa for her new husband to visit Britain, but acknowledged it would be difficult.
“Because my husband’s name is bin Laden, he finds it very difficult to travel anywhere,” she told The Sun.
She told ITV’s “GMTV” program Wednesday that she would one day like to meet her father-in-law to find out if he really is the mastermind behind the terrorist atrocities.
“You know, the newspapers say he did it and certain newspapers say they don’t know, so I would ask, that is one question I would ask. ‘Did you do it?’ Because I don’t know,” she said in a telephone interview from her British home.
‘To me he’s just Omar’
Felix-Browne said she married the son, not the father.
“I just married the man I fell in love with — to me he’s just Omar,” she told The Times. “I hope people will take a step back and think what it is like when they fell in love.”
She said she last met her new husband in April when she spent three weeks at his home in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Jean-Charles Brisard, co-author of “Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth,” said the al-Qaida leader does have a son named Omar.
Osama bin Laden remains in hiding nearly six years after his al-Qaida terrorist network carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
In a new audiotape Tuesday, al-Qaida second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri threatened Britain with more attacks, accusing London of defying the Islamic world by honoring novelist Salman Rushdie.
Last month, attackers failed in two separate car bombing attacks in London and Glasgow. In July 2005, four suicide bombers killed more than 50 people in coordinated bombings on London’s transit system.
Claims son hasn't seen father since 2000
Felix-Browne said her husband, a scrap dealer and one of 18 brothers, was raised in Sudan and Afghanistan after his father left Saudi Arabia.
She said the father and son last met in Afghanistan in 2000, the year before the Sept. 11 attacks and a subsequent U.S. bombing campaign on Afghanistan that toppled the Taliban rulers who had harbored Osama bin Laden.
“He left his father because he did not feel it was right to fight or to be in an army. Omar was training to be a soldier and he was only 19,” she said.
Osama bin Laden had moved from Saudi Arabia to Sudan during the 1990-91 Gulf War, after failing to dissuade the Saudi government from turning to the U.S. for military help, and was stripped of his citizenship after continuing to criticize the Saudi-U.S. alliance. He moved to Afghanistan after being forced to leave Sudan in 1996.
News of the nuptials caused a ripple of excitement in Moulton — a quaint English country village more accustomed to community fairs and dances than international media attention.
“It gave me goose bumps when I heard the news,” said nursery supervisor Gill Targett. “It’s all very scary considering what Osama bin Laden has done to so many innocent people. He’s still a relation and blood is thicker than water.”