A recent conversation about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab may illustrate why we can't jump to conclusions as to why terrorism occurs or how we should stop future attacks.
Patron 1: If we could educate third world terrorists as to the American way, terrorism would disappear.
Patron 2: You, my friend, are a naive Christian who wishes for things that are not likely to ever occur.
Patron 1: Why do you say that?
Patron 2: Take the recent example of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He was born to an upper class Nigerian family. Abdulmutallab received the best schooling, from the elite British International School in West Africa and the University College London. But with the advanced education, his interest in extremist Islam apparently grew to the point that his father tried to warn U.S. authorities.
Patron 1: Is that the guy who tried to blow up a plane in Detroit?
Patron 2: Indeed. He attempted to blow it up on Christmas Day.
Patron 1: What more do you know of his background?
Patron 2: He apparently told U.S. officials that he learned about extremist Islam in Yemen. He apparently is the son of a prominent banker. At some point he became estranged from his family. However, in his youth, he was a well behaved adolescent with no foreshadowing that he would turn radical.
Patron 1: What exactly are the charges?
Patron 2: Abdulmutallab is accused of trying to detonate an explosive device aboard a Northwest Airline jet as it approached Detroit. There were 278 passengers and 11 crew members on board. This could lead to hundreds of attempted murder charges as well as general charges of terrorism.
Patron 1: How was the tragedy avoided?
Patron 2: Well, I have always said that post 911, Americans aren't going to sit down and take terrorism peacefully. When the detonator on his explosive apparently malfunctioned, passengers took matters into their own hands and physically restrained him.
Patron 1: It's good to see folks not passively becoming sacrificial lambs. Where is the so called terrorist now?
Patron 2: He was initially taken to a hospital for treatment of burns. Than he was taken to prison in Milan, Michigan.
Patron 1: What has been the family reaction?
Patron 2: His father issued a statement that they were shocked and appeared genuinely sorry for his son's actions.
Patron 1: How can future terrorism be avoided.
Patron 2: The first thing is that authorities and officials need to keep an open mind as to causes of terrorism and as to possible preventative measures. In other words, time to start thinking outside of the box as to causes, origins and solutions. Give up the stereotype that terrorism and extremist views are as a result of lack of education. Second, airport security measures post 911 are a good start. They probably need to get even stricter. As for the public, they need to stop complaining about the security delays and realize that it is for the greater good. Third, rather than ostracize all who practice Islam, reward those who have nonradical views and allow them to gain favor among their followers.
Patron 1: So what you are saying, I better leave even earlier for my flight next week?
Patron 2: Yup, that is what I am saying...
Keep in mind, all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Enjoy the Holidays.