The Newest Bin Laden Is a 51-Year-Old British Woman

Omar bin Laden's controversial marriage to older Briton gets U.K. press buzzing.

ByABC News
February 11, 2009, 2:28 AM

LONDON, July 12, 2007 — -- The already famously large extended family of Osama bin Laden has a new member: a 51-year-old English grandmother from the village of Moulton in Cheshire, England.

She is the new wife of bin Laden's fourth son, Omar bin Laden.

Former parish councillor Jane Felix-Browne met 27-year-old Omar on a visit to Egypt last year. Seven months later, the couple wed in Islamic ceremonies in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. It is his second marriage and her sixth.

On Wednesday, Felix-Browne, who also goes by the Muslim name Zaina Mohamad Al-Sabah, gave an interview to The Times of London in which she described her new husband as "pious, quiet, a true gentleman."

Public reaction to the couple in Britain has been skeptical, with many commenting on her decision to announce her marriage to a much younger man, especially one with such controversial antecedents.

Nodja Stone, a 55-year-old Londoner, scoffed at Felix-Browne's admission of love, saying to ABC News, "Do we have to listen to this publicity-seeking grandmother? I actually think she's doing all this to get publicity."

The U.K. papers have given her plenty of publicity, with the story making it to the front pages of both the Times and the Sun.

British columnist Zoe Williams told ABC News that the only reason "the papers have covered the story is because of its amusement value."

"Obviously the couple want us to believe that they are in love, but the newspapers are just having a laugh at this relationship, treating it like vaudeville," Williams said. "The age difference and the fact that it's her sixth marriage and his second; makes it all a bit comic."

Not everyone is amused, however.

Melanie Barker, a 45-year-old stay-at-home mom, told ABC News that she did not think it was wise for the British authorities to issue the younger bin Laden with a visa to visit the U.K.

Shaking her head vigorously, she said, "If she loves him that much, she can go to him. We have got enough problems over here as it is."

But, when asked about the couple's age difference, Barker stood up for older women, saying that the age gap "doesn't matter. Age is just a number."