Abdulmutallab is believed to have met with al-Qaida operatives in a house used by extremist Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. He has also been linked to Major Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter.
Yemeni’s deputy prime minister believes the cleric is alive, although Obama officials believed he was killed December 24 on an air strike on a house in Yemen.
The US gave Nigeria full body scanners to use at their 4 international airports, but the machine in Lagos is only used sporadically and only for people suspected of drug smuggling.
Albdulmutallab told classmates after the Islamic course they were enrolled in together was over, he was going to study Shari’a law in Hadhramout Province, but may have lied to cover up travel to Shabwa.
Fellow students at the Arabic language school in Yemen saw Abdulmutallab as a pleasant, respectful person who enjoyed children and non-Muslims. Some were shocked to learn he was harboring a hidden desire to attack the US in a suicide bombing for al-Qaida. But Alexander Ali, a tour guide in Sana’a who socializes with students at the school claims he was friendly on the surface but was always sure never to let anyone get to close.
Ali says Abdulmutallab mentioned “talked a bit about Israel and America; said the Americans, not Muslims, are very bad.”
Some who knew him in Yemen maintain it was impossible to know he was associated with al-Qaida: his visas for the US were in order, and school officials arranged his exit visa and transport to the airport after the class was finished.
Abdulmutallab reported to the FBI that he had been in contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-Yemeni cleric connected to Major Hasan who allegedly recruits violent jihadists from the West.
Both Major Hasan and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab came from middle or upper class families, suggesting extremists tend more often to be intellectuals with a grievance, concept, and desire for power. This challenges the theory that the radicalized lack better options.
Attempted Nigerian terrorist Abdulmutallab told authorities he was the first of many al-Qaida linked terrorists in training in Yemen. The group al-Qaida in the Arabian Penninsula, comprised of Yemeni and Saudi operatives, claims the attack and cites recent US-backed airstrikes on Yemen as their motivation.
A closer look into Yemen reveals a recent increase in US military aid, as well a significant increases in refugees, extremists, and Saudi Arabian al-Qaida operatives, the result of President Ali Abdulaah Saleh’s inability to prevent members from training and organizing.
Major Hasan, perpetrator of this year’s earlier shooting at Fort Hood, TX, also had contact with a Yemeni cleric.
The defense attorney for Major Hasan, who is paralyzed from the chest down and still in the hospital, declared they will most likely enter a not guilty plea for the Fort Hood murder charges. He says an insanity defense is possible for his client.
This op-ed piece by Robert Wright poses that Fort Hood could be evidence that the war on terror can create terrorists while it seeks to dispel them.
Major Hasan, now paralyzed, will have his first court hearing from his hospital room this weekend. It will determine whether to place him in jail or leave him in the hospital pre-trial.
A democratic senator also claims there may be additional emails between Hasan and radical imam Anwar Al-Awlaki that were intercepted by the government. He claims they could have alerted law enforcement and potentially prevented the incident.
In this piece by Houston Chronicle web producer Samira Rizvi, the interests, activities and worshipers of Houston’s Islamic Education Center are discussed. The article paints a picture of the organization and the Muslims that are part of it from the perspective of one of its own members. The question of whether Muslims should apologize for Major Hasan’s actions is also addressed.
The Islamic Education Center is an asset that has been seized by federal authorities as part of an investigation of its owners—Iran’s Alavi Foundation—for alleged financial ties to the Iranian government.
The Houston mosque was one of four properties seized in an investigation of Alavi.
Neither the mosques nor any members are being accused of criminal activity, and authorities state they are allowing religious life to continue as usual in the mosques.
This article questions whether President Obama’s efforts of friendship and peace-building with the Muslim world will be criticized because of the Fort Hood incident. Given rising casulities in Afghanistan, the recent string of foiled US terror plots and Major Hasan’s act, author Jacob Weisberg asks, is Obama’s strategy achieving what he claims it can achieve: a more secure America?