The Fruit-of-the-Loom Bomber Fails; Or, Hasn’t Detroit Suffered Enough?

The guy was caught and nobody was hurt, but it is still too early for the obvious joke of the futility of bombing Detroit.

So, as everybody already knows, on a Northwest Airlines flight to the Motor City, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to set his underwear on fire, hoping for an explosion. No jokes there, either.

The print media has, unlike the Fort Hood shooting, immediately labeled the failed attack terrorism (or man caused disaster, if you’re an Obama supporter). They have also diligently pointed out that Abdulmutallab was a Christian.

Just kidding!

He was actually a Buddhist.

Another joke!

Maybe Abdulmutallab was a Jew? Shintoist? Taoist? Zoroastrianist? Another devotee of Haile Selassie?

Actually, there is no indication in any major media organization of the man’s religion, or lack of it. The Fruit-of-the-Loom Bomber—for that shall be his name evermore—might have been an atheist.

However, even The Freep, the undead paper of the undead city that was targeted, has refused to speculate on this important topic.

But perhaps there are clues?

We know Abdulmutallab liked to play with Al Qaeda in the land of Yemen. The New York Times (D) quoted the man’s father as being worried about his son’s “extremist religious views.”

And for some reason, Nigerian Muslims in Detroit immediately issued a statement saying they were “shocked” by Abdulmutallab’s actions.

We can guess that other representatives from other major religious groups will soon release their own statements—in fact, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s similarly worded release came right after the Nigerians’—so obviously we cannot use these clues as evidence one way or the other.

I think we have to fairly conclude that there is no way to know, and that Old Media was wise not to make any rash guesses.

“Briggs, you bigot, the man’s religion has nothing to do with his decision to murder anybody.”

You might be right, but why was his dad quoted as being concerned about his son’s “extremist religious views”?

This man was not a member of a mainstream religion, but a radical sect (I hope we can agree to call a “radical” one who willing plots to murder). And it seems to me that knowing whether or not somebody belongs to a radical sect is probative for air flight screening decisions.

Is it inappropriate to mention what this radical sect was?


  1. DAV

    Swell. I suppose now we’ll have to remove our underwear for pre-flight inspection along with our shoes.

  2. Ray

    Well, with any luck he won’t be able to procreate.

  3. a jones

    Reminds of the old joke that if you are worried about a bomb on board you should take your own carefully set not to go off because the chances of two bombs on the same…..

    Here in Europe we have had passenger security checks for much longer than you, began just after the Palestinian hijackings in the 1970’s I seem to recall, and it has got steadily more intrusive and to my mind less effective.

    After all if did work how did he get on board?

    Much of the the problem is political correctness but some is the misallocation of resources. After all if the Sky marshals had not been withdrawn on grounds of cost it is unlikely that the 9/11 attack would have succeeded: or probably even been attempted. The near certainty that there is an anonymous armed guard riding shotgun would have been sufficient deterrent.

    The division of passengers into low, medium and high risk groups subject to different levels of security checks and combined with intensive but random searches, the frequency varying with the risk group, is also a solution and there are many indicators as to which group people probably belong. For instance in this case it seems the gentleman had no baggage, even though flying from Nigeria to the USA. Yet it seems security took no account of it.

    But however much money you spend you cannot be confident that you can block every attempt. The aim has to be the maximum deterrence for the least money and disruption.

    Nor am I sure how dangerous this attempt was. 3 ounces of HE is roughly a hand grenade and if it had detonated might well have killed the wearer and injured people nearby. Depending on where he was sitting it might have blown a hole in the fuselage but that is not necessarily catastrophic, pressurised aeroplanes are built to withstand quite considerable damage, to be certain of bringing one down from blast alone you probably need more explosive than that. The likely outbreak of fire in the passenger cabin is a much more serious danger if were not brought under control quickly.

    However no harm done this time except for the usual confloptions of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

    Kindest Regards

  4. 49erDweet

    Not at all, Matt.  It is obvious he is a proud member in good standing of the Religion of Peace, and it is entirely appropriate for him to acknowledge it. 

  5. Briggs

    The best line I’ve heard so far is that the scum suffered from premature immolation.

  6. 49erDweet

    I guess our mother’s were spot on when they told us to alway’s wear clean underwear, especially now when we fly.

  7. Ari

    I think the real question that nobody in the media has dealt with is… who flies to Detroit from Amsterdam? That’s the real question.

    BTW, I want you to know that I definitely call this a terrorist attack. So there.

    Really, though, his name could have been Mohammed Abdul McMohammed and we’d be seeing this.

  8. costanza

    The people to talk to are those that run El Al airlines and Ben Gurion airport. And I’m sure somebody will point out that a bombing in Detroit would do several million dollars of improvements.

  9. txslr

    Well, I just naturally assumed he is a Unitarian. You mean he isn’t?!

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