Was the Airplane Terrorist Brainwashed?

Last week’s failed terrorist plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight has police and airline personnel beefing up security, and 5s wondering how this could happen.

Umar Mutallab, the 23-year-old Nigeria born terrorist, was subdued by other passengers while trying to ignite an explosive device attached to his body. To many, Umar’s youthful appearance, fluent English and education made him an unlikely terrorist suspect.

Michael Rimmer, a Briton who taught history at the British International School in Lome, Togo, knew Umar and said, “In all the time I taught Umar we never had cross words…. Somewhere along the line he must have met some sort of fanatics, and they must have turned his mind."

Once again it appears that a young man may have been recruited and brainwashed into joining a terrorist organization.

There are two important lessons to take from this incident. Firstly, mind control and deception are frequently used by terrorists to recruit and indoctrinate new members. Secondly, we should not be so naïve to think the terrorist profile excludes educated, young and good looking individuals. Doing so lets our guard down and makes us more vulnerable to attack.

Perhaps the following quote sums up the attitude we should take and the lesson we should teach our children;

“When you meet the friendliest people you have ever known, who introduce you to the most loving group of people you've ever encountered, and you find the leader to be the most inspired, caring compassionate, and understanding person you've ever met, and then you learn that the cause of the group is something you never dared hope could be accomplished, and all of this sounds too good to be true - it probably is too good to be true! Don't give up your education, your hopes, and ambitions, to follow a rainbow." - Jeanne Mills

Jeanne Mills was a member of the “People's Temple” cult and subsequent victim of assassination a year following the November 18, 1978 Jonestown suicides/murders of 911 adults and children.

Sadly, history repeats itself. Education and awareness can prevent it.