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The 23-year-old Nigerian man accused of the attempted Christmas Day bombing of an American airliner apparently turned to the Internet for counseling and companionship, writing in an online forum that he was "lonely" and had "never found a true Muslim friend."
"I have no one to speak too [sic]," read a posting from January 2005, when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was attending boarding school. "No one to consult, no one to support me and I feel depressed and lonely. I do not know what to do. And then I think this loneliness leads me to other problems."
The Washington Post reviewed 300 online postings under the name "farouk1986" (a combination of Abdulmutallab's middle name and birth year).
Abdulmutallab, the youngest of 16 children and the son of the second of his father's two wives, was raised at the family home in Kaduna, a city in Nigeria's Muslim-dominated north. At boarding school, Farouk was easygoing and studious, earning the sobriquet "Alfa," a local term for Muslim clerics, because of his penchant for preaching Islam to colleagues, according to family members.
"Farouk was a devoted Muslim who took his religion seriously and was committed to his studies," said an uncle. "He was such a brilliant boy and nobody in the family had the slightest thought he could do something as insane as this."