We wrote last night about the Nigerian, Abdul Mudallad (phonetic translations from the Arabic vary) who tried to bring down a Northwest/Delta flight from Amsterdam to Detroit with an explosive. More information is coming out about the would-be terrorist, who claims affiliation with al Qaeda. It appears that he is the son of a prominent Nigerian Banker named Alhaji Umaru Mutallab who most recently has been an engineering student at University College in London.
If that information proves out, Mudallad (or Mutallab, or whatever) will fit the usual Muslim terrorist profile: young, well-educated, from a prosperous family, oriented toward science and engineering.
UPDATE: This account comes from the man credited with stopping the bomber, Jasper Schuringa, a film director from Amsterdam:
Schuringa, sitting in seat 20J, in the right-most section of the Airbus 330, looked to his left. “I saw smoke rising from a seat … I didn’t hesitate. I just jumped,” he said.
Schuringa dove over four passengers to reach Abdul Mutallab’s seat. The suspect had a blanket on his lap. “It was smoking and there were flames coming from beneath his legs.”
“I searched on his body parts and he had his pants open. He had something strapped to his legs.”
The unassuming hero ripped the flaming, molten object — which resembled a small, white shampoo bottle — off Abdul Mutallab’s left leg, near his crotch. He said he put out the fire with his bare hands.
Schuringa yelled for water, and members of the flight crew soon appeared with fire extinguishers. Then, he said, he hauled the suspect out of the seat.
“I took him in a choke to the first class and all the people were like, ‘What’s going on?!”
It seems likely that the explosive device, which apparently was designed to circumvent limitations on the amount of liquid that can be brought on board a flight, had already failed or never could have worked. Still, Schuringa obviously did the right thing and deserves great credit. With the airplane reportedly descending for a landing and panic breaking out in the cabin, taking quick and decisive action is no doubt easier said than done.
Of course, film directors from Amsterdam have good reason to be attuned to the threat of Islamic terrorism.
FURTHER UPDATE: Mark Steyn comments on the sociology of terrorism:
The men eager to self-detonate on infidel airliners are not goatherds from the caves of Waziristan but educated middle-class Muslims who have had the most exposure to the western world and could be pulling down six-figure salaries almost anywhere on the planet. And don’t look to “assimilation” to work its magic, either. We’re witnessing a process of generational de-assimilation: In this family, yet again, the dad is an entirely assimilated member of the transnational elite. His son wants a global caliphate run on Wahhabist lines.