January 11, 2010 Special Dispatch No. 2745

Al-Jazeera TV Report on the Nigerian Community of 'Christmas Day Bomber' Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

January 11, 2010
Africa | Special Dispatch No. 2745

The following are excerpts from a TV report on 'Christmas Day Bomber' Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on January 7, 2010.

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Reporter: "This is the great mosque of Kaduna, the largest city in northern Nigeria, and the largest Islamic center in the north of the country. The imam of the mosque excludes the possibility that the city and the religious ideology that prevails in it have anything to do with the accusations leveled against the Nigerian citizen, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab."

Abd Al-Hamid Balili Wali, Imam of the Mosque: "Let me tell you, the da'wa of this man is not the da'wa of Sheik Abubakar Gumi or of this mosque."

Reporter: "Abdulmutallab's family is one of the city's noble families. His 70-year-old father is a wealthy banker and a former minister. This is the home of the family of Abdulmutallab, who is accused of attempting to blow up an airplane in the U.S. The evening school which Umar attended as a child is only a few meters from here. Like others in this region, Umar's father enrolled him in this Islamic school."

Interviewer: "In which grade did Umar study in the school?"

School teacher Abd Al-Rahman Abu Bakr: "He studied in two classrooms. [pointing] This one and that one."

Interviewer: "What grade did he reach?"

Abd Al-Rahman Abu Bakr: "He began as a child, from age four to seven, the first and second grades of elementary school."

Interviewer: "What was he like? Was he a willing student?"

Abd Al-Rahman Abu Bakr: "Farouk was a smart and polite student."

Reporter: "This is part of what the children are taught at this school – the basic principles of Islam and short Koranic verses. Most of them continue from here to the government schools that teach English. Umar's parents sent him to the UK to study at the age of seven. He began to frequent this school mosque only during school breaks, when he returned to Kaduna, Nigeria."

Mousa Omar Tumadu, School Principal and Imam of the Mosque: "The last time I saw him was four months ago. He left because his father sent him to study in Dubai, after he had studied in Britain. But he did not listen to his father, and he went to Yemen to study Arabic. His father was worried, and so he informed the U.S. authorities of this."

Reporter: "The entire school staff knows Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. They all say that there was nothing to suggest that he might try to blow up a plane in the U.S."

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