According to a New York times report today, the 23-year old Muslim Nigerian man accused of attempting to sabotage a flight to Detroit on Christmas day, in the name of Al Qaeda, is now the source of an intensive search for motives. All sources report that Abdulmutallab, a 23-year old graduate of a prestigious London university, was humble and intelligent. And so the race for a motive begins: What, everyone is asking, could motivate this otherwise peaceful young man to attempt to blow up a plane, killing himself and hundreds of other passengers? London itself is being held accountable, as a hot spot of Islam, both radical and moderate. And then there's the Muslim university group he led. Or maybe his time in Yemen?
Yet it appears no one is willing to say the obvious: Abdulmutallab did it because his religion told him to. Though the word Islam literally means "peace" (a fact defendants happily trot out), it is far from peaceful. The texts of Islam openly call for violence, including requiring death for the sins of blasphemy and apostasy, or leaving the faith.
Why did he do it? Because God told him to. Was he radical? Perhaps. But only in that he took his religion seriously.