Here we go again. Another botched terrorist attack, and a much-needed excuse for some agenda-driven American ideologues to demand opening “new fronts” in the “war on terror”, with “profiling” of Muslims at airports expected to be at the core of the airport security review announced yesterday by Gordon Brown. I am sorry, but that thinking is wrong, flawed, and will make matters worse.
Yemen is not a willing home to al-Qaeda – it is victim to an ideology exported from neighbouring Saudi Arabia. In our desire to blame and, eventually, bomb, let us not forget the other Yemen: one of the last bastions of traditional, serene Islam. Yemeni Sufis have been imparting their version of normative Islam for centuries through trade and travel. Hundreds of British Muslims have been studying in Yemen’s pristine Islamic institutions. They have returned to Britain connected to an ancient chain of spiritual knowledge and now lead several Muslim communities with the Sufi spirit of love for humans, dedication to worship, and service to Islam. [continued…]
U.S. President Barack Obama has for the first time publicly accused an offshoot of al-Qaeda over the alleged Christmas Day bomb plot to blow up a US plane.
He said it appeared Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had armed and trained the accused, 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. [continued…]
Mr Abdulmutallab’s story demonstrates how difficult it is to build a stereotype of the radical Islamist willing to give his life for the jihadist cause.
Students who shared classrooms and accommodation with Mr Abdulmutallab in Yemen and Britain describe a young man who befits the image portrayed in the photograph – smiling, intelligent and good-looking. He was devoutly religious – in the picture he dons a white Muslim skullcap – but did not display outward signs of extremism, they say. Rather, he was quiet and kept to himself – more introvert than fanatic.
Other Africans, from Comoros, Kenya and Somalia, who have been involved in al-Qaeda activities, have come from humbler backgrounds. But Mr Abdulmutallab was born into Nigeria’s elite, and there is little in his African background to suggest he was a terrorist in the making. [continued…]