Statistics say: Yes.
The case in point is, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23 year old Nigerian, who attempted Christmas Day bombing of an American airliner.
Born of a father who retired this year as chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and still sits on the boards of several prominent Nigerian firms, Umar was raised at the family home in Kaduna, a city in Nigeria’s Muslim-dominated north. At a boarding school, he was easygoing and studious, and would occasionally preach Islam to his class mates. Later, he attended an elite British boarding school in Togo, where many of his classmates were British expatriates and students from around West Africa.
Despite his affluent upbringing Umar was a lonely man, who sought friends online, through Facebook and in Islamic chat rooms, writing under the name Farouk1986. He would often turn to internet for counseling and companionship. He wrote about love and marriage, his college ambitions and anxiety over standardized tests, as well as his inner struggles as a devout Muslim. Writing in an online forum he affirmed, “My name is Umar but you can call me Farouk… I have no one to speak to…no one to consult, no one to support me and I feel depressed and lonely. I do not know what to do. And then I think this loneliness leads me to other problems.”
He had visited the United States and other countries, including Egypt and Yemen, and was aware of Western customs. He had a privileged upbringing as a wealthy Nigerian banker’s son. He had ambition to study engineering at Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, or the California Institute of Technology. Writing of his disappointment in scoring a 1200 on the SAT he scribbled, “I tried the SAT, It was a disaster!!!” In 2008, he graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the University College London.
His ambition was to be steadfast in religion; notwithstanding, the strict doctrine of Islam about interaction with other gender did not help him. He wrote of the conflict between his desires and his religious duty of “lowering the gaze” in the presence of women, “The Prophet advised young men to fast if they can’t get married but it has not been helping me much and I seriously don’t want to wait for years before I get married,” he acknowledged.
In December 2005, he wrote of his parents visiting him in London and mentioned that he was debating whether he could eat meat with them. “I am of the view meat not slaughtered by Muslims is haram for consumption unless necessary,” he wrote, “My parents are of the view as foreigners we are allowed to eat any meat. It occurred to me I should not be eating with my parents as they use meat I consider haram. But I fear this might cause division and other complicated family problems.”
He was in Yemen between August and December of this year to study Arabic at a language institute. One of his uncles said, “Farouk was a devoted Muslim who took his religion seriously and was committed to his studies…He was such a brilliant boy and nobody in the family had the slightest thought he could do something as insane as this.” People from the rich Unguwar Sarki neighborhood in Kaduna said that he was easygoing and passionate about Islam. One of his cousins commented, “He was a very religious, polite and studious fellow, but it was unthinkable that he would do anything close to attempting to bomb a plane.”
So, what went wrong?
The seed of fundamental Islam is sprouting vigorously. Although it is alleged that Islam is a religion of peace, the history attests otherwise. Out of the first four Caliphs only one died natural death, others were all assassinated. The direct descendants of Prophet Mohammed, the apples of his eyes, were mercilessly put to death. The war of revenge and avenge continues unabated.
And the war on terror declared on Islam by the self-proclaimed civilized Western world is only adding fuel to that fire. History says, the Muslims are the most backward as religious peoples in our time. The history also says whenever there is a clash between civilizations, the less sophisticated culture always wins, for they have little to live for.