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Web posts suggest suspected jihadi was lonely, depressed

'So usually my fa[n]tasies are about islamic stuff. The bad part of it is sometimes the fantasies are a bit worldly.' -- Posting by Farouk1986 - who may be Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, above - on Feb. 20, 2005. "So usually my fa[n]tasies are about islamic stuff. The bad part of it is sometimes the fantasies are a bit worldly." -- Posting by Farouk1986 - who may be Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, above - on Feb. 20, 2005. (Mike Rimmer via Associated Press/ 2001)
By Jon Gambrell
Associated Press / December 30, 2009

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LAGOS, Nigeria - Internet postings purportedly written by a Nigerian charged with trying to bomb a US airliner on Christmas Day suggest a fervently religious and lonely young man who fantasized about becoming a Muslim holy warrior.

Throughout more than 300 posts, a user named Farouk1986 reflects on a growing alienation from his family, his shame over sexual urges, and his hopes that a “great jihad’’ will take place across the world.

While officials have not verified that the postings were written by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, details from the posts match his personal history.

For example, the username also matches the alleged bomber’s middle name and birth year. Farouk1986 says he is from Nigeria, the home nation of the man accused of trying to bring down the Detroit-bound flight. And the suspect’s father says Abdulmutallab broke off ties with the family.

The posts, beginning in 2005, show a teenager looking for a new life outside his boarding school and wealthy Nigerian family.

Most of all, they paint a portrait of someone who seems lost and needs someone to hear him.

The postings seem hastily written and are replete with spelling and grammar errors. In one, on Jan 28, 2005, he wrote: “i am in a situation where i do not have a friend, i have no one to speak too, no one to consult, no one to support me and i feel depressed and lonely. i do not know what to do.’’

The posts were made to an Islamic bulletin board called Gawaher, which literally translates from Arabic as “gems’’ or “jewels,’’ but can also be read as “essence’’ or “spirit.’’

US government officials had no immediate comment. CBS News first reported on the postings Monday evening.

Farouk1986 discussed growing up and preparing to leave his British boarding school in the African nation of Togo for college, which also matches Abdulmutallab’s personal history. However, educational pursuits appear to be overtaken by a growing fascination with religion, with posts going so far as to describe his own fantasies about holy war.

“I imagine how the great jihad will take place, how the muslims will win, insha Allah and rule the whole world, and establish the greatest empire once again!!!’’ reads one post on Feb. 20, 2005. The words “insha Allah’’ are the phonetic translation of the Arabic for “God willing.’’

“So usually my fa[n]tasies are about islamic stuff,’’ he continued. “The bad part of it is sometimes the fantasies are a bit worldly rather than concentrating in the hereafter.’’

On Jan. 28, 2005, Farouk1986 said he was writing from Yemen, and that he was learning Arabic at the Sana Institute of Arabic Languages. Administrators at the school said Monday that its director, Muhammad al-Anisi, has spent two days being questioned by Yemeni security officials. He remained in custody Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Nigerian Information Minister Dora Akunyili told reporters that Abdulmutallab told his parents only a few months ago that he wanted to study sharia law, something his father said he couldn’t do. Abdulmutallab responded by sending a text message from an unknown cellphone number saying he never would talk to his family again, Akunyili said.

In a series of exchanges which coincide with Abdulmutallab’s final year of high school in 2005, the writer also discusses his conflict between attending his high school prom and being a good Muslim. He has exchanges with other posters about proper Islamic dress, modern movies, marriage, and his desire to learn Arabic.