[This article is reprinted from The Sydney Morning Herald.]
The 23-year-old Nigerian charged with trying to detonate a bomb on a Northwest Airlines flight over Detroit on Christmas Day was lonely and sexually repressed, according to messages left on an Islamic website.
As a US Senate Homeland Security committee continued to argue this week about how to handle Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the emotional anguish in his web posts provides an insight into fanatical Islam and what drives often hapless young men to become suicide bombers. Much as we would like them to be, they are not monsters.
Being the son of a wealthy banker, and living in London, Abdulmutallab had no real beef with Western life, did not complain about racism or express concern for downtrodden Muslim brothers.
But, like the September 11 bombers, who visited strip clubs before their date with destiny, when his devout religious beliefs conflicted with his corporeal desires, he found that blowing himself up along with a whole lot of infidels was preferable to being sexually frustrated.
As the New York Post put it: "The bomb wasn't the only thing burning in his pants."
On the Islamic Forum of the Gawaher website in 2005 and 2006 were more than 300 posts by Farouk1986 - Abdulmutallab's middle name and birth year.
Under the heading: "I think I feel lonely," Farouk1986 complains he has never found "a true Muslim friend".
"As I get lonely, the natural sexual drive awakens and I struggle to control it, sometimes leading to minor sinful activities like not lowering the gaze.
"And this problem makes me want to get married to avoid getting aroused … but I am only 18.'' In another post, he writes ''the hair of a woman can easily arouse a man''.
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