Not Extremist, Just Religious: Is The Rap On Somali Bomb Hole Blower A Lesson?

Not Islamic? His friends beg to differ, Mr. President.

We wrote previously about the man who was sucked through his own bomb hole while trying to destroy an airplane flying out of Somalia. No other passengers were killed in that incident. Subsequently, the bomber's motivation has been under scrutiny. On Tuesday, we got an answer: religion, not extremism.

That says a lot, actually.

Abdullahi Abdisalam Borleh has been identified as the man who tried to take out a plane in the name of Islam. But his background is not "radical" Islam, just the run-of-the-mill sort. He taught at an Islamic school. People in his hometown described him as "religious," as having a sense of humor, but not as being extremist. Here is more from Fox News:

Borleh was seen as very religious but not a firebrand in his northwestern town of Borama, far from the battlegrounds of al-Shabab, which operates mostly in southern Somalia. While the extremist group doesn't have a presence in the town near the Ethiopian border, intelligence officials say there are a few al-Shabab sympathizers there.

Borleh taught the Quran and Islamic ethics to local children but acquaintances said he didn't discuss politics. He favored a long mustache and usually wore trousers cut to just below the knee. He was married and had children, though how many isn't clear.

"He was a normal and humorous man, and he rarely talked about persecutions against Muslims in East Africa," said a local journalist who met Borleh before he traveled to Mogadishu.

And yet here we are. He brought a bomb on a plane and detonated it. This "religious" Muslim man. This teacher who was not "extremist," or "radical." 

President Obama and Secretary Kerry love to put on their scholars' robes and explain that Islamic terror is perpetrated by those who "distort" the peaceful teachings of Islam. They are not "really" Islamic at all. This administration insists upon this, and doesn't even want to call ISIS the Islamic State because the President says it is not Islamic. 

Was Borleh Islamic? Those who are in a better position to judge than Barack Obama say that he was. How long do we intend to continue to argue with them?

Issues