World's most dysfunctional family
Even before OBL's much hyped capture, the bin-Laden family, as with many modern families, has somewhat dispersed, more so given the circumstances involved in being a fugitive family. Any large family comes with variety. And this is a large clan of a family. Even the core family unit- that is all four or five wives and between 12 and 26 children- travelled widely due to husband/ father’s career that took them from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, Sudan and Afghanistan.
The bin Laden family is one of the most prominent in Saudi Arabia. The Binladin Group, a family construction business, is one of the Kingdom's largest. It builds roads and bridges, renovates mosques and has expanded into property, textiles, telecommunications and distribution. The extended family is large and relations are complicated by the fact that many disowned Bin Laden after he was stripped of his Saudi citizenship in 1994 for suspected terrorist activities and for criticism of the Al Saud dynasty.
A couple of junior bin Ladens adopted the ‘Cause’ with him, as the loyal Hamza, Khaled and Saad; others adopted a rather different choice of life than such a father might expect. Those that emulated their father didn't always live to succeed his work. The whereabouts of his son Hamza, who has played a key role in al-Qaida propaganda, is unknown. Bin Laden's son, Khalid, was killed with his father upon capture.
Relatives, including OBL's first wife, live in Syria and Europe as well as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. At least six of his children took refuge in Iran after 9/11 and were later placed under house arrest.
OBL's former sister-in-law Carmen bin Ladin said she was sure the family would be mourning his death. "Blood is thicker than anything and they still consider him as part of the family."
So rumor of his collective or Saudi-based family disowning him is not quite accurate. However the ties are complex ones that do not preclude dis-ownership and distancing. And the variety offered in this single family- from extreme religious devotion, as well as terrorism, to modeling and Showbiz (let’s call them the ‘Celebrity Bin-Laden’ wing) is pretty radical.