Al-Qaeda Recruited Underwear Bomber While London Student
December 30, 2009
(ChattahBox)—A clearer picture is emerging of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian accused of a failed attempt to blow up an airplane, as it started its descent in Detroit, Michigan on Christmas day. Authorities in Britain now believe that Abdulmutallab was recruited by al-Qaeda, after he became immersed in radical Islamic politics while an undergraduate student at University College London. The Christmas bomber charged with attempting to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253, by igniting the explosive PETN sewn inside his underwear, was the president of the school’s Islamic Society. And British authorities say that Abdulmutallab is the fourth president of a London student Islamic society charged with terrorism charges in just three years.
During his time as a London college student, the Nigerian Christmas bomber organized radical meetings and speaker events. In 2007, Abdulmutallab organized a conference as part of the “War on Terror Week,” with lectures entitled, “Jihad v Terrorism” featuring former Guantánamo detainees and discussions of torture.
London college campuses have been penetrated by extremest groups in recent years, where members of militant Islamic groups, like al-Qaeda infiltrate student political groups and religious study circles to identify potential recruits.
And according to the London Times, Abdulmutallab was also “…on the periphery of one counterterrorism intelligence operation in Britain,” while he was a student there.
After Abdulmutallab left the University College London last year, he attempted to obtain another student visa to study “life coaching” at a non-existent college in Britain, which was denied.
Abdulmutallab then attended the University of Wollongong’s Dubai campus for about seven months in 2009, studying for a master’s degree in international business. But the Christmas bomber vanished from campus sometime in the summer and traveled to Yemen to study Arabic and Sharia law, where he was trained by al-Qaeda and recruited for the failed bombing mission.
The group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, claimed responsibility for the attack and said that the underwear bomb failed due to a “faulty detonator.”
Meanwhile, Dutch authorities dismissed reports that airport officials permitted Abdulmutallab to board the flight in Amsterdam without a passport. A spokesman for its counter-terrorism office said: “He had a passport and a valid visa for the United States and KLM had clearance on the passenger list to carry him to the US.”
CNN reported on Wednesday that the Amsterdam airport will now start subjecting passengers to full-body scans, which could have detected the bomb material hidden in Abdulmutallab’s underwear.
Photo Source: AFP / SITEInstitute