Unlikely Upbringing for Near-Terrorist

The 23-year-old Nigerian man who is accused of trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane Friday lived in a $3 million apartment in London while he studied at the University College London for three years. Abdulmutallab’s father, the former economics minister of Nigeria, said he was planning to meet with Nigerian police Saturday night upon realizing his son had become an al Qaeda terrorist. Six months ago, he said he warned American authorities of his son’s extreme views, and Abdulmutallab was recently barred from entering Britain. Adbulmutallab was allegedly on a security watch list maintained by the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center that includes approximately 550,000 names. But many were surprised the shy young man nearly caused a Christmas Day massacre. One former classmate remembered Abdulmutallab, nicknamed “Biggie,” would leave to pray while they studied mechanical engineering. Abdulmutallab’s history teacher told The Telegraph that the then-15-year-old student “seemed to think [the Taliban] was reasonable” in 2001. “I wasn’t unduly worried,” he said said of Abdulmutallab, then nicknamed “The Pope” due to his pious nature. Two years ago, he contacted his former teacher, saying he was going to Yemen to study Arabic.