There is overlap in space if not in time between NW 253 bomber Abdulmutallab and various unsavory characters and websites. Perhaps it’s just a case of like-minded people moving through similar places at similar times in their lives, but then again, maybe Abdulmutallab came into contact with some of these people, particularly in what appears to be his critical period of radicalization in London circa 2005-2007. At this point all I have are suspicions and some interesting data points to share.
• Abdulmutallab is reported to have journeyed to Houston to attend a training seminar at the al-Maghrib Institute.
• Houston was, and perhaps still is, the base of operations for Sasjamal, aka Sarfaraz Jamal, proprietor of the Clear Guidance and Islamic Networking forums. The former having been implicated in the Toronto 17 case, and the latter in the case of convicted US terrorist Dan Maldonado. Mr. Jamal was an associate of convicted UK terrorist Aabid Khan. Mr. Jamal also hosted the blog of Samir Khan for quite some time, and Samir is as close as you’ll get to a leader of the indigenous US salafi/jihadi/pro-al-Qaida movement.
• The al-Maghrib Institute has a forum at almaghrib.org.
• A 2005 DNS query regarding one of Sasjamal’s many websites suggests a connection between al-Maghrib and Sasjamal:
name class type data time to live
islamicrealm.net IN MX
islamicrealm.net IN SOA
minimum ttl: 86400
islamicrealm.net IN NS ns.islamicrealm.net 86400s (1.00:00:00)
islamicrealm.net IN A 220.127.116.11 86400s (1.00:00:00)
18.104.22.168.in-addr.arpa IN PTR 7c.96.1343.static.theplanet.com 86400s (1.00:00:00)
• The fact that sasjamal has UserID number 2 on the almaghrib.org forum makes it a certainty that he is associated with the al-Maghrib Institute (and probably helps explain where the funding for his online activities comes from).
• IbnMardiyah, closely associated with Sasjamal, resident of Canada, and at least loosely associated with the Toronto 17 plotters, was active on the almaghrib forum circa 2004-2005. At some point he was removed as a member but his posts remain on the forum.
• Dan Maldonado (aka “daniel aljughaifi”) was also associated with the almaghrib.org forum before going to work for Sasjamal as moderator of the Islamic Networking forum.
• Moving forward in time I note there is overlap between the followers of Samir Khan and the al-Maghrib Institute. For example, on 14 February 2008 someone calling himself “Chaowdri” posted the “ABCDEFG Khutbah Recipe” from the al-Maghrib Institute as a comment on Samir’s blog (see comment three of the archived page).
• There is overlap between the followers of Anwar Awlaki and the al-Maghrib Institute as demonstrated by this helpful comment left by a reader of Awlaki’s blog.
View archive of page from Awlaki’s blog
• The Houston-based Crescent Youth organization might also be of interest to those looking for any Awlaki-Abdulmutallab-Houston connections. A Google search for “awlaki site:crescentyouth.com” returns 249 hits. I will add, however, that not all the denizens of the Crescent Youth forum are entirely comfortable with Sheikh Anwar (see for example their post-Ft. Hood discussion).