The Islamic Roots of Abdulmutallab's Suicidal Odyssey

The liberal milieu and mainstream media are baffled: What could have possibly led the 23-year-old Nigerian boy Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to attempt jihadi suicide on a passenger plane? How could such a nice, educated Islamic boy, who grew up in a rich and prosperous family, have come under the “radical” and “extreme” influences that set him on his violent course? It’s just all so mysterious.

It’s so mysterious that the news anchors on CNN continue to incredulously ask each other and their guests these questions -- back and forth, over and over again, in a cyclical circus that has no end and that never produces the most obvious answer staring any sensible person right in the face. In the liberal imagination, there is just this “extremist ideology” out there somewhere and somehow this unfortunate Muslim boy fell under its spell, but no one can be exactly sure how or why it happened. All one can be sure of is that an adversarial culture or ideology must not be blamed and that America, somewhere, somehow, must definitely be at fault.

And so, when it comes to the liberal left trying to digest Abdulmutallab and his suicidal quest, perplexed dismay becomes a much safer hiding place than honesty, because the basic truth threatens the very survival of the liberal faith. For the liberal to accept the evident reason why Abdulmutallab set off on his suicide odyssey would necessitate him having to completely shed himself of his entire worldview and personal identity. The much easier route, therefore, is to keep oneself confused and to stay focused on how American capitalism and imperialism must have surely had something to do with it -- even though, as is the case with the cause of Islamic terror itself, these factors are so obviously not involved in Abdulmutallab’s suicidal and murderous yearnings (i.e., Abdulmutallab comes from a privileged, wealthy, and educated life, etc.).

What the lib-left milieu simply can’t digest is what Islamic terrorists like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab themselves insist motivated them. And these are things like, you know, reading certain religious texts and following a certain religion’s teachings. They are things, sort of like, well, following Islam and reading the Koran and stuff like that.

When all is said and done, the true reasons why Abdulmutallab embarked on his murderous mission of suicide are completely understandable -- and only to be expected -- in the context of his Islamic odyssey. And Abdulmutallab himself clearly points to the influence of his religion in his own personal writings on the internet.

In his 300 postings under the name “farouk1986” in an online forum, Abdulmutallab sheds light on how the Islamic theology that he follows marginalized him from human life and led him on his hateful and suicidal road. One of the main themes in his postings, for instance, is a recurring complaint about his loneliness and how he has “never found a true Muslim friend.” While liberals will expectedly blame capitalism for Abdulmutallab’s estrangement, a certain question has to be asked, a question that will never be asked, or answered, on CNN or in the Nation magazine:

From where, oh where, did Abdulmutallab get the self-ostracizing and hateful idea that only Muslims could be his friends?

Indeed, from where did this young man absorb an ideology that eliminated billions of people on the planet from the pool in which he could make friendships and nurture human connection? Hmmm, could it possibly be that the self-marginalization he inflicted on himself had something to do with his religion’s instruction that he not only never make friends with infidels (Koran 5:51), but also wage war on them? (Koran 9:5, 9:29, etc.).

Abdulmutallab also agonizes about his behavior when he does manage, on the rare occasion, to join the human race. He admits that when he socializes he does “laugh and joke” but he stresses, in self-defense, that he does not do this “excessively.” Pray, do tell, from where the need to make confessions and self-justifications about such beautiful elements of life? What could this possibly be about? Could it be that it has nothing to do with American capitalism and imperialism at all, but maybe with the life-hating teaching of a religion that demonizes earthly happiness, joy, and pleasure? Could it be somehow connected to a certain religion’s hatred of music, frivolity, and, above all, a womans laughter? Could this all have something to do with why Ayatollah Khomeini insisted that “there is no fun in Islam”?

In his posting for December 2005, Abdulmutallab shares a monumental crisis he is facing: While victims of poverty are starving throughout the world, the young Muslim boy is faced with a doomsday scenario: his wealthy family will be visiting him in London and he might have to join them and eat meat. Abdulmutallab is full of panic, sharing that “I am of the view meat not slaughtered by Muslims … is haram [forbidden] for consumption unless necessary.” He thus disagrees with his parents’ view that “as foreigners, we are allowed to … eat any meat” and worries that if he doesn’t eat it this “might cause division and other complicated family problems.”

Abdulmutallab reveals the crucial inspiration to his murderous and suicidal yearnings when he agonizes about his inner struggle between being a devout Muslim and a member of a society infected by Western values. He writes of his “dilemma between liberalism and extremism” and, as a Muslim, he strives to live his life “according to the Koran and Sunnah to the best of my ability. I do almost everything, sports, TV, books … (of course trying not to cross the limits in the deen).” The deen is the dutiful way of life demanded by Islam.