“He was engaging in rituals. He was preparing to die and enter heaven. He purified himself. He washed. He brushed his teeth. He put on perfume. He was praying and perfuming himself to get ready to die.”
How did he come to misunderstand Islam so severely?
“Feds: Airline attack suspect sought martyrdom,” by Ed White for the Associated Press, October 11 (thanks to Block Ness):
DETROIT (AP) — A young Nigerian on a terrorist mission for al-Qaida prayed, washed and put on perfume moments before trying to detonate a bomb in his underwear to bring down an international jetliner on Christmas 2009, a prosecutor told jurors as the man’s trial opened Tuesday.
Virtually everyone aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 had holiday plans, but Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab believed his calling was martyrdom, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel said.
In the plane’s bathroom, “he was engaging in rituals. He was preparing to die and enter heaven,” Tukel said. “He purified himself. He washed. He brushed his teeth. He put on perfume. He was praying and perfuming himself to get ready to die.”
After returning to his seat, Abdulmutallab pushed a syringe plunger into the chemical bomb in his underwear, an action that produced a “pop,” the prosecutor told jurors.
The bomb didn’t work as planned but Abdulmutallab was engulfed in flames, said Tukel, who displayed the flight’s seating chart on a screen to show jurors where things happened on the plane.
The day’s first and only witness, passenger Mike Zantow of Madison, Wis., said Abdulmutallab went to the bathroom for 10 to 15 minutes, then returned and put a blanket over himself. He heard the “pop” and said another passenger remarked, “Hey, dude, your pants are on fire.”…
Abdulmutallab has written a few court filings in his own hand, including a request to be judged by Islamic law. He has at times appeared agitated in court, declaring that Osama bin Laden and a radical Muslim cleric recently killed by the U.S. are alive. He also has objected to trial testimony from experts who will talk about al-Qaida and martyrdom….