Would-be Christmas bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was working towards his master’s degree in Dubai when he told his parents he wanted to study Arabic in Yemen for a few weeks. Some weeks passed, and he wrote home to say he wanted to stay there and study sharia (Islamic law) for seven years. His father told him no, and that he would not pay for schooling in Yemen, but the son responded that all his expenses would be taken care of. Abdulmutallab maintained contact with his family until he realized they strongly opposed his staying there, at which point he severed ties via text message. That’s when his family contacted security agencies. Abdulmutallab posted on Facebook and Islamic chatrooms as Farouk1986 and showed an internal struggle between fundamentalism and liberalism. He talked of wanting to study Arabic and to apply to Stanford, and that he felt depressed and lonely. His $2,381 ticket to Detroit from Lagos via Amsterdam was purchased with cash in Accra, Ghana on December 16.