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City of Brass

Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be bomber of Flight 253, is turning out to be a classic case study in radicalization – there’s been great coverage of his story at Talk Islam and I think it paints a picture of a man who was classicially susceptible to the allure of jihad. The silver lining of the incident is that in every respect, his profile is one which can be predicted and detected as a risk to our country; the fact that he was allowed on the flight was indeed a “systemic failure” as President Obama said, but it’s also a teachable moment in terms of correcting that failure. Those who immediately leap to the argument for racial profiling, as opposed to activity profiling, are not serious about security – but Abdulmutallab has done us a favor by illustrating our blind spot for us to rectify.

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