Here’s a twist on the Poverty Causes Terrorism myth: “We the children of the masses in this country, we don’t know anything about terrorism because our parents are poor.” In other words, this guy believes you have to be rich to become an Islamic jihadist. “Nigeria bomber’s home town blames foreign schooling,” from Reuters, December 27 (thanks to all who sent this in):
FUNTUA, Nigeria (Reuters) – For residents in his home town, it was Umar Abdulmutallab’s foreign education, not his roots in Muslim northern Nigeria, that radicalized him and led him to try to blow up a U.S. passenger plane.
The 23-year-old London-educated Nigerian was charged on Saturday in the United States with trying to blow up Northwest Airlines flight 253 as it approached Detroit from Amsterdam on Christmas Day with almost 300 people on board.
The son of a highly respected banker, Abdulmutallab’s actions shocked Nigeria’s wealthy elite and residents in his family’s predominantly Muslim northern hometown of Funtua.
“Everyone knew the Mutallabs and the father is honest, generous, helpful and above all a prominent banker. I cannot see why his son should be involved in this act,” Funtua resident Ibrahim Bello, 65, said, close to the Mutallab family home.
Like other elders from the community, Bello said Abdulmutallab’s schooling abroad meant he had been brought up outside the customs of northern Nigeria, a region with a history of moderate Sufi Islam.
“My only advice to the elite is to allow their children to mingle with the children of the masses so that he will have some of the traditional morals and values that (the elder) Mutallab himself enjoyed,” Bello told Reuters….
Abdulmutallab is from a privileged background in Africa’s most populous nation, where most of an estimated 140 million people live on under $2 a day.
His father, Umaru Mutallab, retired earlier this month as chairman of First Bank, the country’s oldest, after a distinguished career in finance….
Abdulmutallab was educated at the British School in Lome, Togo — a boarding school mostly serving expatriates and students from around West Africa — before studying engineering at University College London (UCL), where he is believed to have lived in a multi-million dollar city-center apartment.
One friend who knew him in London said he kept himself to himself and always wore a skullcap, rare among young Nigerian Muslims who usually wear such caps only on religious occasions.
Nigeria’s This Day newspaper said he had been given the nickname “Alfa” — a local term for an Islamic scholar — while at school in Togo, for his preaching to other students.
He also made two trips to Yemen during his student days for short Arabic and Islamic courses, according to a family friend….
Clashes between security forces and a radical Islamic sect called Boko Haram — which wanted a wider adoption of sharia (Islamic law) — killed hundreds of people in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri in July.
But Islamic jurisprudence in Nigeria is based on the moderate Maliki school of Sunni Islam and Boko Haram’s ideology is dismissed by the country’s Muslim leaders and most believers.
Young Muslims who grew up in Funtua insist it was Abdulmutallab’s life overseas, which they view as alien, not Nigerian Islam that gave rise to his extremist views.
“We the children of the masses in this country, we don’t know anything about terrorism because our parents are poor. They don’t have the money to take us abroad,” said 25-year old student and Funtua resident Usman Mati.