Former head of banned Islamic group: ‘I knew the London killer’

njem Choudary  speaks at a protest opposite Downing street against the military action taken by the UK, USA and France against Libya on March 21, 2011 in London, England. Credit: Getty Images
njem Choudary speaks at a protest opposite Downing street against the military action taken by the UK, USA and France against Libya on March 21, 2011 in London, England.
Credit: Getty Images

The suspected killer of a British soldier who was filmed after the brutal crime on Wednesday has been identified as Michael Adebolajo, and is known to fringe Islamic groups in London.

“I know him as Mujahid, he attended our activities for five years from 2005,” preacher Anjem Choudary, former leader of the banned organization Al Muhajiroun, told Metro. “He was very quiet and practiced nonviolent Islam, I can’t imagine what happened to him after leaving us.”

Choudary, who has attempted to create Sharia-law zones in London, condemned the killing but described it as a “wake-up call” over British foreign policy in the Muslim world. “It would be foolish to ignore this. Young people may see it as an inspiration.”

Mainstream Muslim groups have made public statements against the killer, but the Muslim Public Affairs Committee demanded they go further in tackling radicals. “We need to teach angry young men to express their views within the political process. Instead of talking about theology we need to teach them to be citizens,” said spokesman Tahir Shah. “Most institutions are failing to connect with youth in a positive way.”

Adebolajo, in hospital after being shot by police, is a British-born Nigerian who reportedly converted to Islam from Christianity, and Shah is concerned about a pattern of new recruits being exploited by radicals. “I’m aware of three recent incidents of extremism [from new converts] and the total may be far higher.”

Police are also concerned that the killing matches a pattern of attacks on armed forces, as a video from 2007 has emerged detailing a plot to behead a British soldier and film it.


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