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Bin Laden relative talks of life in Saudi Arabia


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Carmen bin Ladin, author of "Inside the Kingdom."
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Carmen bin Ladin talks about her marriage to Osama bin Laden's brother.
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Carmen bin Ladin on Thursday described her marriage to one of Osama bin Laden's brothers and her life as a woman in Saudi Arabia.

Author of a book about her experiences, "Inside the Kingdom," bin Ladin also detailed her encounters with the al Qaeda leader during an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

BIN LADIN: I wrote that book for my daughters, first of all, to explain the Saudi society ... the Saudi culture, and why I had made some decision on their behalf that had changed so dramatically their life.

Because emotionally -- because my daughters had been rejected by the bin Laden family and the bin Laden clan, and by their father, because I managed to keep them outside of Saudi Arabia and give them ... Western values.

COOPER: You met Osama bin Laden when you were living in Saudi Arabia with your husband and with your family. When you first met him, what did you think?

BIN LADIN: Actually, you know, in Saudi Arabia, the society doesn't allow you to meet -- and especially if your brother-in-law is very religious. Osama wouldn't sit and discuss with me.

But I came -- I came to see him two times -- three times, and two times I was well, and another time it just happened that I -- he knocked at the door. He wanted to see my husband, and I opened the door. And I was face to face to him.

COOPER: And he was very sort of flustered by that?

BIN LADIN: Yes. He just turned -- and walked away.

COOPER: What was your impression of him?

BIN LADIN: Well, you know, I knew he was a very religious person. He was well admired, because when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, he went to fight with the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan, and he was really admired, and they respected him in Saudi Arabia for his involvement in Afghanistan.

COOPER: Do you still think he is admired and respected by many in Saudi Arabia, and also perhaps even by his own family still?

BIN LADIN: Yes, I do believe that. Yes. I think that he has -- he has a lot of admirers in Saudi Arabia.

COOPER: Do you think he still gets financial support from his family?

BIN LADIN: I think that it's very difficult for the bin Ladens to let down their brother so easily.

COOPER: You grew up in Europe, and yet you were living in Saudi Arabia. The life is so different. Describe what it is like being a woman in Saudi Arabia. I mean, you can't go anywhere. You are veiled. I think -- at one point -- walking across the street was considered a big victory.

BIN LADIN: Yes, it was. But, you know, for me, as a mother of two daughters at the time, what was bothering me was that I was wondering what their future would be as a woman in that society.

In Saudi Arabia, a woman can be independent financially and own property, but morally she's always under the tutorship of a male relative.


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