Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden
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Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (Arabic: محمد بن عوض بن لادن; 1908 – 13 September 1967) was a Saudi businessman working primarily in the construction industry. He was also known for being the father of Osama bin Laden.
Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was born on the Hadhramaut coast of south Yemen in 1908 to Awad bin Aboud bin Laden, a Kindite Hadhrami tribesman from al-Rubat, a village in Wadi Doan; Mohammed's paternal grandfather was Aboud bin Laden, the son of Ali bin Laden, one of four brothers (the others being Ahmed, Mansour, and Zaid) from whom the four bin Laden clans trace their ancestry. His son Osama bin Laden was the notorious founder of al-Qaeda, the Sunni militant Islamist organization.
Poor and uneducated, Mohammed emigrated to Tihamah before World War I, initially working as a porter in Jeddah. In 1930, he started his own construction business and after coming to the attention of Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, first monarch of Saudi Arabia, he eventually achieved such success that his family became known as "the wealthiest non-royal family in the kingdom."
Mohammed bin Laden's enormous financial success was ascribed to a shrewd business sense, fealty to Saudi Arabia's rulers, reliability and a willingness to offer the lowest bid on construction contracts.
As the "royal builder," Mohammed bin Laden forged close relationships with the royal family, particularly Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia. In 1964, Prince Faisal deposed his half-brother, King Saud, and began rebuilding the kingdom after the wasteful excesses of the Saud era. King Faisal accepted Mohammed bin Laden's offer of financial assistance to support the national economy and as a reward, King Faisal issued a royal decree awarding all future construction projects to bin Laden's construction company. As a result, bin Laden's company eventually amassed assets in excess of US$5 billion. He made his initial fortune from exclusive rights to all mosque and other religious building construction in Saudi Arabia and several other Arab countries. Until 1967, Mohammed bin Laden held exclusive responsibility for restorations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Despite his royal associations and great wealth, Mohammed bin Laden lived a relatively simple and devout life compared to many wealthy Saudis, demanding that his children observe a strict religious and moral code. In his later years, the bin Laden corporate network diversified its activities beyond construction, largely in foreign investment and oil.
Wives and children
He fathered a total of 77 children by 22 wives. Mohammed never had more than four wives at a time—divorcing older wives and marrying new ones as needed to limit the number of current wives to four. According to Carmen bin Ladin, Mohammed was planning to wed a 23rd wife the night he died, and was heading there when his plane crashed. His best known son is Osama bin Laden, the notorious founder of al-Qaeda, the Sunni militant Islamist organization.Osama bin Ladin’s mother, Hamida al-Attas, was born and raised in Syria before marrying Bin Ladin and moving to Saudi Arabia. She was Mohammed’s 11th wife.
Following Mohammed bin Laden's death, his eldest sons, principally Salem bin Laden, renamed the organization, "Binladen Brothers for Contracting and Industry" and continued to expand their late father's company until it employed more than 40,000 people. Salem bin Laden was killed in the United States in 1988 when his ultralight aircraft collided with power lines. Many members of the Bin Laden family have moved away from Saudi Arabia and settled in Europe and the US.
In May 1990 the company was renamed the Saudi Binladin Group under the leadership of Bakr bin Laden. The Saudi Binladin Group as it is now known, is involved in construction, engineering, manufacturing, and telecommunications. Construction projects include airports, housing complexes, tunnels, and bridges. The group is also involved in city planning and real estate development. The Saudi Binladin Group is Egypt's largest private foreign company and negotiated with the Lebanese government to rebuild part of central Beirut under a US $50 million contract.
- Bin Ladin, Carmen (2005), Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia, Hachette Book Group, pp. 65–66, ISBN 0-446-61694-X
- The Bin Ladens – Steve Coll (Penguin, 2008), pp. 118–120.
- Burke, Jason. "Rags to riches story of the bin Laden family is woven with tragedy". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-10-06.
- "Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden". www.historycommons.org. Retrieved 2015-10-06.
- "The Five Richest Saudis". WSJ Blogs - The Wealth Report. 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2015-10-06.