Terror suspect attended classes in Houston

December 30, 2009 3:41:35 PM PST
We have new information about the suspect accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airline jet on Christmas Day. Officials with a local Islamic Institute confirmed Wednesday that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab did in fact attend a seminar in Houston last year. We've been telling you since this weekend that his visa showed he came here, but until now, we didn't know why.

The seminar was hosted by a group called the Al Maghrib Institute. It is a registered non-profit that hosts courses in 10 different U.S. cities, including Houston.

The seminar in question was held at a northwest Houston hotel in August of 2008. The institute has confirmed that Abdulmatalleb registered and paid for the course, and on Wednesday, it released a statement which read in part, "We have been able to confirm from our records that the individual, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, attended a program hosted by Al Maghrib Institute in August 2008. He registered via our website on April 22, 2008 and paid by check on July 20, 2008. On July 22, 2008 Abdulmutallab notified us of his flight arrangements. He also disclosed that he was a 21-year-old Nigerian student at University College London and London School of Economics, studying mechanical engineering and business finance, and he was living in London at the time."

As for the Al Maghrib Institute, we found a copy of the group's 2008 IRS filing as a registered non-profit. It lists Houston as its address, that it had revenues of nearly $1.1 million in 2008 and assets of roughly $215,000. The group says that year, it conducted 46 seminars in 10 states to more than 4,100 students.

It lists Houston among its host cities and calls Al Maghrib the largest Islamic sciences student body in North America. The group's Houston-based chairman says they are working with the proper authorities and will continue to cooperate as needed on this case.

The institute's calendar does not list any seminars so far for 2010, though the group did host five Houston sessions in 2009 - two in February, two in May and one in August.


Load Comments