One radical cleric whom Iqbal and others in Birmingham confronted two years ago, Anjem Choudary, told the Independent newspaper that Adebolajo had once regularly attended his lectures. Choudary, the former leader of a now-banned Islamist group, referred to Adebolajo by his adopted name, “Mujahid,” or Muslim warrior.
“He was a pleasant, quiet guy,” Choudary told the Independent. “He reverted to Islam in about 2003. He was just a completely normal guy. He was interested in Islam, in memorizing the Koran. He disappeared about two years ago. I don’t know what influences he has been under since then.”
‘A betrayal of Islam’
The suspects, who were shot while being apprehended by police, were under guard at separate hospitals. Late Thursday, Britain’s Defense Ministry released the name of the slain soldier, drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Rigby, a 25-year-old father of a 2-year-old boy named Jack, was described by his commanding officer, Lt. Col. Jim Taylor, as “a real character” and “true warrior.” Taylor said Rigby had served with distinction in Afghanistan, Germany and Cyprus.
Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday said Wednesday’s killing was not just an attack “on Britain and on the British way of life, it was also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country.” He cautioned against “knee-jerk responses.”
Cameron appeared to acknowledge reports that both men were known to British security services and that one had attempted to travel to Somalia to support an al-Qaeda affiliate. He said there would be reviews of British security services’ management of any information that had been received about either man in recent years.
“The people who did this were trying to divide us,” Cameron said. “They should know that something like this will only bring us together and make us stronger.”
Eliza Mackintosh contributed to this report.