Email From Nigeria

Yes, the Dish's reach is wide:

I'm a regular reader of your blog; a Nigerian who lives in Canada, and I am currently spending the Christmas holiday in Nigeria for the first time in years.

The reaction here to the Christmas day would-be bomber of NWA Umar Abdul Mutallab has been one of mixed anger and embarrassment. There's no doubt that its an isolated incident. Never before has Nigeria been remotely linked with "terrorism" or "suicide bombing". My dad did not even believe that the boy was indeed Nigerian, pointing out his generic-sounding Arabic name, until more details and photographs began to surface.

Nigeria is known for various things, ranging from Nobel-laureates to 419 Internet scams, oil-exportation to occasional violent crime, but suicide-bombing has never been imaginable. The news stations here show people demanding that he be "done away with" or "given what he deserves". A senator even released a statement saying that he be disciplined according to the US Justice system.

Although Nigeria is generally a diverse, secular country; people here are very religious. The South is full of Christians who do like to party; while the more conservative North is full of Muslims, who are generally moderate, but for some regions where the more extreme muslims reside, and Sharia is practised.

The interesting thing about Mutallab is that, like most Nigerians, he shouldnt have any beef with America. Both countries get along fine, and just a couple of weeks ago, American artists like 50 Cent, Keri Hilson, and Ciara were in Nigeria for a couple of concerts. The common denominator between this very unlikely UK-educated wannabe-terrorist and the stereotypical terrorist we have become used to is plain and simple: religious fundamentalism. It is very dangerous, and as long as it exists, it will spur any nut (Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Arab, Black, White, British, Nigerian, or Chinese) to do crazy things.