He sure found an interesting, if not novel, way to do that. As noted earlier today, every Muslim group that ever had anything to do with the Flight 253 jihadist is trying to make sure that no one gets the idea that he was “radicalized” among them. Islamic school officials in Houston are scratching their heads, not sure whether or not he attended the school. And in Nigeria, they’ve never seen al-Qaeda and are all moderates. At his London mosque, they’re shocked! Shocked! And now in Yemen, they’re shocked as well.
“Devout student showed no extremist side,” by Andrew England in the Financial Times, December 30 (thanks to James):
[…] For about a month until the end of September, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian accused of trying to destroy a passenger jet over Detroit, was a student at Sana’a Institute for Arabic Language.
Students are asking how a man they knew as a friendly colleague could be at the centre of a failed terrorism plot. The man described by students as “nice”, if a shade introverted, was hailed as a “martyrdom-seeking brother” by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni-based group that has claimed responsibility for the failed attack.
“This man was here studying Arabic. He did not have a bad idea about anyone, American or British,” says Ahmed Mujab, a teacher at the institute. “There was nothing strange about him.”
Matthew Salmon, a Canadian who shared a student apartment with the Nigerian for just more than two weeks, says he was devout but gave no indication of being an extremist.
“He was passionate about his faith,” says Mr Salmon, adding that his message was to bring “peace and brotherhood to the world through Islam”.
Mr Abdulmutallab, who had also spent a year at the institute from 2004 to 2005, was “amiable and forgettable at the same time”, someone who regularly attended prayers but stayed in his room when at home.
When the pair discussed religion, Mr Abdulmutallab would encourage his Canadian colleague to think about joining him at the mosque….
Mr Abdulmutallab was in Yemen from August until early December, according to officials. “It was a shock when we all found out,” says Mr Salmon, adding that students felt a sense of “fear that we had lived with someone who is willing to do that”….
How, oh how could it have happened?