Because there is no universally accepted standard in the West for transliterating Arabic words and names into English, bin Laden's name is transliterated in many ways. The version often used by most English-language mass media is Osama bin Laden. Most American government agencies, including the FBI and CIA, use either "Usama bin Laden" or "Usama bin Ladin", both of which are often abbreviated to UBL. Less common renderings include "Ussamah Bin Ladin" and "Oussama Ben Laden" (French-language mass media). The latter part of the name can also be found as "Binladen" or "Binladin".
Strictly speaking, Arabic linguistic conventions dictate that he be referred to as "Osama" or "Osama bin Laden", not "bin Laden," as "Bin Laden" is not used as a surname in the Western manner, but simply as part of his name, which in its entirety means "Osama, son of Mohammed, son of 'Awad, son of Laden". However, the bin Laden family (or "Binladin", as they prefer to be known) do generally use the name as a surname in the Western style. Consequently "bin Laden" has become nearly universal in Western references to him, Arabic convention notwithstanding.
Bin Laden also has several commonly used aliases and nicknames, including the Prince, the Sheikh, Al-Amir, Abu Abdallah, Sheikh Al-Mujahid, the Lion Sheik, the Director, Imam Mehdi and Samaritan.
Childhood, education and personal life
Main article: Childhood, education and personal life of Osama bin Laden
See also: Bin Laden family
Osama bin Laden was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In a 1998 interview, he gave his birth date as 10 March 1957. His father Muhammed Awad bin Laden was a wealthy businessman with close ties to the Saudi royal family. Osama bin Laden was born the only son of Muhammed bin Laden's tenth wife, Hamida al-Attas. Osama's parents divorced soon after he was born, according to Khaled M. Batarfi. Osama's mother then married Muhammad al-Attas. The couple had... [continues]
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