Fellow students at the Arabic language school in Yemen saw Abdulmutallab as a pleasant, respectful person who enjoyed children and non-Muslims. Some were shocked to learn he was harboring a hidden desire to attack the US in a suicide bombing for al-Qaida. But Alexander Ali, a tour guide in Sana’a who socializes with students at the school claims he was friendly on the surface but was always sure never to let anyone get to close.
Ali says Abdulmutallab mentioned “talked a bit about Israel and America; said the Americans, not Muslims, are very bad.”
Some who knew him in Yemen maintain it was impossible to know he was associated with al-Qaida: his visas for the US were in order, and school officials arranged his exit visa and transport to the airport after the class was finished.
Abdulmutallab reported to the FBI that he had been in contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-Yemeni cleric connected to Major Hasan who allegedly recruits violent jihadists from the West.