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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Terrorist's Journey From London Student To Jihadist

Terrorist's Journey From London Student To Jihadist

December 27, 2009

Detroit attack: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from London student to jihadist

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian accused of trying to blow up Northwest Flight 253, may have become recruited to the terrorist cause during three years he spent studying in Britain, his family said.

The Sunday Telegraph (London)

By Robert Mendick, Julie Henry and Rebecca Lefort
Published: 9:08PM GMT 26 Dec 2009

Previous 1 of 4 Images Next The passenger being escorted off the plane Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is escorted from the plane after his failed attack Photo: CNN Umaru Mutallab The accused's father, Umaru Mutallab, is one of Nigeria's most respected businessmen University College London Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab was an engineering student at University College London (UCL), pictured Photo: CLARA MOLDEN Police enter a property in a mansion block in London Police carried out searches at Abdulmutallab's family home in up-market Mansfield Street Photo: REUTERS

The 23-year-old was sent to London to study by his wealthy father, a prominent Nigerian banker who is reported to have become despondent over his son's growing radicalism.

Abdulmutallab enrolled at University College London (UCL) in September 2005, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in June last year.

During his time in London, he lived in a three-bedroom apartment in London's West End. Other members of Abdulmutallab's large family also occupied the flat from time to time, part of the imposing, seven-storey block in Mansfield Street that has a an English Heritage blue plaque on a wall in honour of the philanthropist Sir Robert Mayer, who once lived there.

One woman, who works as a carer for an elderly female resident, said: "They [Abdulmutallab's family] are not always there, they only come when it is school holidays, they don't really stay there. Most of the people in these apartments have got houses in the country, so most of them are empty."

Police on Saturday carried out searches at the flat, the lease on which, according to records, is owned by a US investment company. Scotland Yard confirmed that it was liaising with the US authorities investigating the failed attack. Officers also visited UCL.

According to a Nigerian source based in the US, a relation of Abdulmutallab's had claimed that the student, from a Muslim family, had been "recruited" to a more militant form of Islam in London.

On completing his degree, Abdulmutallab was believed to have moved to Yemen, where he was further radicalised and allegedly underwent some form of training culminating in the failed terrorism attempt.

Abdulmutallab was issued with a visa to the US on June 16 last year, coinciding with the completion of his UCL course. The visa was valid until June 12, 2010. His reason given for visiting the US was to attend a religious ceremony.

The source said: "After school at a top establishment in west Africa, Umar was sent to London to college. But when his degree course ended, he ‘disappeared' to Yemen, where he was being taught Arabic. His family are suggesting he probably got recruited in London but became radicalised in Yemen. He had been in Yemen for about a year or even a year and a half although during that period he had flown between Yemen, Nigeria and the UK."

Yemen is fast becoming the breeding ground for jihadists. Pete Hoekstra, the senior Republican on the US House Intelligence Committee, said he had information that the suspect may have had contact with a radical imam based in Yemen who had ties to the suspected gunman in the Fort Hood killings in Texas.

Abdulmutallab is reported to have told authorities that the explosive device was acquired in Yemen along with instructions on when it was to be used from al-Qaeda operatives, although it is claimed he later withdrew that remark.

Mohammed Mutallab, a cousin of the alleged bomber, told The Sunday Telegraph that the family was shocked that he had been arrested and believed he had been radicalised in Britain.

A Nigerian online newspaper reported, however, that Abdulmutallab had already held extremist views while at a boarding school in west Africa, where he earned the nickname "Alfa" in reference to his prowess as an Islamic scholar.

His father, Umaru Mutallab, is one of Nigeria's most respected businessmen. He stepped down as chairman of the First Bank of Nigeria earlier this month.

Mr Mutallab, who is also a former government minister, was reported to have been travelling from the family compound in Katsina in the north of Nigeria to the capital Abuja to talk to security officials.

One report suggested that Mr Mutallab had warned US authorities and Nigerian security services about his son's activities.


Londonistan' is still the weakest link
Melanie Phillips

Daily Mail (UK) 28 December 2009
http://www.melaniephillips.com/articles-new/?p=705 So here we go again. Another international Islamic terrorist plot — and yet another British connection. The attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up an American plane was averted only by luck and courage. The incident obviously raises alarming questions about gross lapses in security. In particular, how did Abdulmutallab obtain a U.S. visa when he had been on an American watch-list of people with known terrorist connections? But the deeper and more urgent issue for Britain concerns the key role this country has once again played in a Muslim's trajectory to radicalisation and terror. Abdulmutallab, who claims to have been working for Al Qaeda, was an engineering student at prestigious University College London for three years until 2008. He was actually refused an entry visa to Britain earlier this year, but only because the institution at which he said he wanted to study turned out to be non-existent. How, people might well ask, could such a radical have been educated in Britain without the authorities jumping on him? Did MI5 know anything about him - especially since he was on a U.S. terrorism watch-list for two years? As yet, we still don't know much about this man's history. It appears he became a religiously extreme Muslim at a school in Togo, but was further radicalised while studying in London before apparently going to Yemen and linking to Al Qaeda. Who can be surprised? After all, this is ‘ Londonistan' — the contemptuous term coined by the French security service back in the Nineties as they watched Britain become the central hub of Islamic terrorism in Europe. Radicals flocked to the UK, attracted by Britain's toxic combination of criminally lax immigration controls, generous health, education and welfare benefits and the ability to perpetuate their views through the British veneration of the principle of free speech. Despite 9/11, the 2005 London Tube and bus attacks and the dozens of other Islamist plots uncovered in Britain, the astounding fact is that Islamic extremist networks are still allowed to flourish in Britain, largely through the obsession of its governing class with multiculturalism and ‘human rights'. As a result, Britain remains — to its eternal shame — the biggest hub of Islamic radicalisation outside the Arab and Muslim world. Extremists are still slipping into the country. The courts are still refusing to deport terrorists in order to protect their ‘human rights' abroad. London boasts the shameful reputation of the world's premier money-laundry for terrorism, which shelters behind a label of ‘charity' that the authorities choose not to challenge. Not only is no action taken against extremist mosques and madrassas, but many British universities have been turned into terrorism recruitment centres. More than four years ago, the intelligence expert Professor Anthony Glees listed 24 British universities which he said had been infiltrated by militant jihadists. Indeed, the long list of Islamic terrorists who were educated at universities in Britain should in itself have raised concerns about radical Islam on campus. Yet Professor Glees was instead undermined by university authorities determined to bury their heads in the sand. Last year, a poll by the Centre for Social Cohesion found — horrifyingly — that almost one in every three Muslim students in the UK said that killing in the name of religion was justified, with one third also in favour of a worldwide Islamic caliphate, or empire, based on Islamic sharia law. The Centre also noted on campus the presence of extreme Islamist books in some prayer rooms, appearances by militant Islamist speakers, and links between extreme Islamists and the student Islamic Societies. Yet the government refuses to outlaw Hizb ut-Tahrir, one of the key groups that is radicalising students on campus by infiltrating and taking over these student societies and preaching its subversive message of Islamising the free world. But it's not just in the universities that Britain seems unable to recognise, let alone deal with, highly manipulative Muslim extremists. Astonishingly, similarly radical speakers are regularly invited into the very heart of the defence establishment, on courses teaching intelligence officials as well as soldiers and police officers about radical Islam. The Government is funnelling money into extremist Islamist groups, and even employs Islamist radicals within government as advisers on — wait for it — ‘combating Islamic extremism'. All in all, Britain's defences against radical Islamism now resemble nothing so much as one giant hen-house over which a pack of ravenous foxes has been placed in charge. The root cause of this madness is that British ministers and officials refuse to accept that what they are facing is religious fanaticism. They insist that Islamic extremism and terrorism have got nothing to do with Islam but are rather a ‘perversion' of Islam. And they believe that the antidote to this is ‘authentic' Islam — which they then use taxpayers' money to promote. But what they fail to grasp is that ‘authentic' Islam is currently dominated by a deeply politicised interpretation which promotes holy war to conquer ‘infidels' and insufficiently pious Muslims. And although many such Muslims abhor this and have nothing to do with violence or extremism, it is an interpretation backed up by Islamic theology and history and currently supported by the major religious authorities in the Islamic world. That is what the government often ends up inadvertently funding — with catastrophic results. For when exposed to this, even many hitherto secular Muslims become radicalised. So it is hardly surprising if, when Abdulmutallab came to Britain, the country's ostrich-like denial of Islamic fanaticism helped turn him from a religious extremist into a terrorist. If Britain is ever to get on top of its terrorism problem, it has properly to acknowledge and tackle this radicalisation process. That means giving no quarter to this politicised interpretation of Islam. And that means junking its current idiotic definition of an ‘extremist' as merely someone who is committed to violence. It must outlaw instead the religious fanaticism that also threatens the British way of life. Certainly, it is important not to demonise those British Muslims who pose no threat to this society. So the Government should say that Muslims are welcome to live here on exactly the same basis as all other religious minorities - that they accept the principle of one law for all, and do nothing to threaten or undermine the prevailing culture. That means an end to the increasing toleration of Islamic sharia law as the effective jurisdiction in Muslim areas, which so badly threatens in particular the safety and well-being of women, homosexuals and converts from the faith. It means giving no quarter to the Muslim Council of Britain and all the other organisations and individuals who support Islamic extremism but are currently wooed by Whitehall. It means outlawing Hizb ut-Tahrir. It means prosecuting the anti-West fanatics in mosques and madrassas. It means profiling Muslim extremists at airports. None of these things is currently being done. Instead, radical Islamism is being appeased on the grounds that Muslims must not feel targeted in any way. But in fact, this merely cuts the ground from under the feet of genuinely moderate British Muslims. For it is their friends and relatives, and worst of all their children, who are being radicalised through such a wrongheaded strategy. The urgent question now has to be asked how many other Islamic terrorists in Britain are, like the quiet, studious, privileged Abdulmutallab, also lurking beneath the radar. For in the defence of Western society against militant Islam's war of conquest, the activities of the Christmas Day bomber show that once again Londonistan is the weakest link in the chain.

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