Briton Marries Bin Laden’s Son
By David Brown
July 11, 2007
A British woman has married a son of Osama bin Laden after a holiday romance and is to apply for a visa so that he can visit Britain, The Times has learnt.
Jane Felix-Browne, a 51-year-old grandmother and parish councillor from Cheshire, has until now kept her marriage to Omar Ossama bin Laden, 27, secret from everyone apart from her immediate family and close friends. But she has now agreed to speak about her relationship with bin Laden’s fourth eldest son.
“It would be nice if, like any other married woman, I could stand up and say this is my husband and this is his name, but I have to be realistic about things,” she told The Times. “I hope people don’t judge me too harshly. I married the son, not the father.”
Mrs Felix-Browne says she is aware that some people will be hostile to her marriage. Among the numerous terrorist plots linked to her new father-in-law are the London suicide bombings on July 7, 2005, the July 21 plot, and the recent attempted attacks in London and Glasgow. “I just married the man I met and fell in love with – to me he is just Omar,” she said. “I hope that people will take a step back and think what it was like when they fell in love. He is the most beautiful person I have ever met. His heart is pure, he is pious, quiet, a true gentleman, and he is my best friend.”
Mrs Felix-Browne, who has been married five times previously, met Mr bin Laden in Egypt in September while undergoing treatment for multiple sclerosis. She says that their fairytale romance began when her future husband saw her riding a horse near the Great Pyramid. They were married in Islamic ceremonies in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and are awaiting permission from the authorities in Riyadh to make their marriage official.
Mrs Felix-Browne is still coming to terms with the practical difficulties of being the daughter-in-law of a man with a $25 million (£12.5 million) bounty on his head. “Omar is wary of everyone. He is constantly watching people who he feels might be following him. Not without reason he is fearful of cameras. He is the son of Osama,” she said. “But when we are together he forgets his life.”
Mrs Felix-Browne already knew some members of the bin Laden family through her Islamic marriage to a Saudi man in London when she was 16. She believes that she actually met Osama bin Laden at a party in London in the 1970s.
Omar bin Laden left Saudi Arabia as a child when his father was expelled for his extremist beliefs, his wife said. Living in exile in Sudan and then Afghanistan, he saw at first hand the creation of al-Qaeda and its techniques. Mrs Felix-Browne said: “I never had any problem with his past. Omar did not do anything wrong. He was a child when he was in Afghanistan.”
She said that her husband left Afghanistan before the attacks on the US on September 11, 2001. However, some reports claim that he split from his father only after the attack on New York and an argument about tactics.
Mrs Felix-Browne insisted: “He last saw his father in 2000 when they were both in Afghanistan. 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.
“He told me he has had no contact with his father since the day he left him. He misses his father. Omar doesn’t know if it was his father who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. I don’t think we will ever know.”
Apart from their religion the couple appear to have little in common. She has three sons and five grandchildren and is a respected parish councillor in the village of Moulton. She has had various jobs, including restoring houses and aircraft, and is a keen rider and scuba diver.
He works as a scrap metal dealer in Jedda and is one of at least 17 children fathered by bin Laden. His father’s reputation means that he has been ostracised by the wealthy and powerful bin Laden family and is under surveillance by the security services in Saudi Arabia.
Mrs Felix-Browne, who now uses the Islamic name Zaina Mohamad, says that she speaks to her husband for several hours every day over the internet or by telephone. During their conversations she refers to him repeatedly as “Habibi”, the Arabic for “my love”. She said: “I find it very difficult to live without him and I know he does too. But really we have the most normal life possible.”
She was aware before her marriage that her husband already had another wife and a two-year-old child. “I haven’t seen her but I have spoken to her for about an hour on the telephone,” she said. “She is fine about it.”
Mrs Felix-Browne was initially reluctant to discuss her new husband but news of their relationship inevitably began to leak out in Britain and the Middle East. “I don’t want any of my family distressed or upset by my actions,” she said. “I know that for everybody who likes me there will probably be a million enemies.”
Now she hopes that Mr bin Laden will come to Britain. “He would like to spend quite a bit of time here,” she said. “There is no reason why he should not come to live, but I don’t think he would like the weather.”
Mrs Felix-Browne said that the couple hoped to use their position to help to heal the wounds caused by her father-in-law. “All we want is peace in this world and I will do all I can to promote it.”