Underwear bomber attended classes in Houston

Houston Chronicle:

A leader of a Houston Islamic educational institution said Tuesday that the organization is investigating a report that the Nigerian man accused of trying to bomb an airliner on Christmas Day attended classes here last year.

Shaykh Waleed Basyouni, vice president for the AlMaghrib Institute in Houston and imam of the Clear Lake Islamic Center, said he has asked staffers to look into a report that 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had attended classes in Houston during a trip to the U.S.


Officials with the Department of Homeland Security said that Abdulmutallab made one prior trip to the U.S. before the bombing attempt, flying into Houston Aug. 1, 2008, and leaving 16 days later.


As word spread that Abdulmutallab might have attended the institute, Basyouni asked for patience as members of the staff comb through class rolls, saying “we have a very, very large student body.”

The international institute is a nonprofit that teaches Islamic studies. It has a student body totaling more than 20,000, Basyouni said, and conducts seminars in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

Many classes are held over double weekends, which could account for a stay in Houston of two weeks in August 2008.

FBI agents have visited the Sheraton Houston Brookhollow Hotel at 3000 North Loop West, where Abdulmutallab is believed to have stayed.


I am not sure this visit had much to do with his radicalization which mostly occurred while he was in the UK. It is not clear from the article where the classes were held.

The Brookhollow area is on the north side of town and Clear lake is in the far south side of town. It is possible the classes were in the hotel where he stayed which is relatively close to the Bush airport.

Update: The Chronicle has now confirmed his attendance at the seminar. The leaders of the seminar say that the attack is something they would condmen in the strongest terms. The local Nigerian community also reacted negatively to the underpants bomber:


Abdur Rahman T. Adesokan, the imam of Masjid-ul-Mumineen, the main Nigerian Muslim association in Houston, said he had not spoken to any members of the Nigerian Muslim community who had met Abdulmutallab. He also said he didn't believe that Abdulmutallab visited the community's mosque here.

“We are not happy with this, none of our community is happy with what happened or that he's Nigerian,” Adesokan said. “It is bad, bad, bad.”

It si hard to argue with that conclusion.


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