Person of Interest

A Bomber’s Alienated Youth

The childhood of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day bomber, was pious and privileged, but not without its problems. Growing up in Kaduna, in northern Nigeria, religious violence was a part of daily life. Young Muslims saw protests and clashes with their Christian neighbors. "Farouk Mutallab came from a society that has not embraced tolerance. He came from a society that has a history of violence, of extremism, and that is a fact,” a neighbor and author told NPR for a three-part series which began Wednesday. A reporter who visited Kaduna found stories about how Abdulmutallab resented living the life of a banker’s son—his father was one of the most powerful figures in Nigerian finance. Sent off to a co-ed boarding school in Togo, Abdulmutallab’s alienation grew. Young Abdulmutallab thought the solution was finding a wife.