There are claims that he has a history of mental illness, and that he was "radicalized and taken advantage of." Personally, I think his history of mental illness simply made him more likely to adopt another form of mental illness -- the Islamic faith. Here's an excerpt from the Wall St. Journal piece:
A Muslim convert with a history of mental illness was arrested in the U.K. Thursday after exploding a bomb in a family restaurant in Exeter, southern England, local police said.
In a statement the police said 22-year old Nicky Reilly suffered facial injuries in the explosion and was taken to a hospital where he was arrested.
There were no other injuries but a second device was found and defused near the restaurant. Armed police searched an address which was linked to Mr. Reilly in the nearby city of Plymouth.
"Our investigation so far indicates Reilly, who had a history of mental illness, had adopted the Islamic faith," a police spokesman said.
"We believe despite his weak and vulnerable illness he was preyed upon, radicalized and taken advantage of," he said.
The blast, described as "small", happened just before 12.50 GMT at the branch of Giraffe, a restaurant chain popular with young families due to its child friendly policies, in a city centre shopping mall.
Witnesses had described a male entering the toilet in the restaurant shortly before the explosion. Mr. Reilly's injuries, described by police as serious facial wounds, are not life threatening. [unfortunately -- ed]
Of note is how bland this WSJ description is compared to the tone of the BBC article, which seems to question the idea that Nicky "Mohammed Rasheed" Reilly was preyed upon and radicalized:
However, Devon and Cornwall Police have not yet explained what they mean by "radicalised", nor to what extent Mr Reilly was "preyed upon".The BBC also pointedly interviewed the mosques that Rasheed-Reilly attended, and of course their spokesmen claimed that everything they do is peaceful.
Note the use of the term "moderate". Having read Ed Cline's article that explored the topic, I'm reminded of this quote from his piece:
Omar Siddiqui, friend of Mr Reilly's and the president of the Islamic Society at the University of Plymouth, said he was stunned and amazed at what has been alleged.
Mr Siddiqui said Plymouth's 3,500-strong Muslim community were moderate and he knew of no groups which would preach hate. [bold added]
As Warner explains it, a moderate Muslim is one who simply obeys the Koran and the Sunna. He is chiefly a religious Muslim, but he harbors an indoctrinated antagonism for all kaffirs [non-Muslims or non-believers -- ed], which of course, can swell into a seething hatred, and ultimately action. Osama bin Laden, says Warner, is a Medinan or "moderate" Muslim. So were all nineteen hijackers on 9/11. All jihadists are "moderates." Fundamentally, to Islam, the adjectives "moderate," "extremist," "good" and "radical" are interchangeable and mean the same thing. The only people who see any distinctions between them are kaffirs, who invented the terms, and those distinctions are wholly imaginary and the product of wishful thinking.It seems pretty common that recent converts to a religion, especially those with diminished mental capacity, are the ones who grasp onto the fundamentalist nature of the religion the quickest. This is usually chalked up to the fact that, because they weren't mentally strong, they fell prey to "corrupting influences" and went down the wrong path.
I think it's just the opposite. With diminished capacity or willingness to use reason, Rasheed-Reilly's mind is the perfect home for the wholly irrational nature of a religion. He can then act as the ideal vessel for the true motives and fundamentals. In this case he picked Islam, and as the archetype of the ideal Muslim warrior, he carried out the attempted destruction of the non-believer with seemingly little prompting. I wonder if they even had to use the "70 virgins" argument?