Abdulmutallab’s struggles highlight line between piety and extremism

Before Abdulmutallab traveled to Yemen to train with al-Qaida and wrote off his family, tensions existed with his father over his alleged “immoral, un-Islamic ” choices to become a wealthy banker. This is apparently a common struggle in Kaduna, Nigeria, where Abdulmutallab was raised. He also spent a lot of time unsupervised, a common issue in wealthy Nigerian families, and was exposed to the radical ideas that circulate the region.

Researchers also note his loneliness and isolation as a factor in his radicalization. “He is a total teetotaler,” said Adulmutallab’s uncle. “He doesn’t do what his peers used to do. He is always indoors reading his Quran.”

By the time he reached University College London, the transformation to radical Islam had occurred. “He had changed; he was saying ‘Islam, Islam, Islam;’ Aminu Baba-Ahmed says.