‘I consider them my brothers in Islam’: Man accused of Lee Rigby’s murder claims he loves Al-Qaeda during trial

By Danielle Wainwright

A man accused of slaying Middleton-born Lee Rigby in front of terrified onlookers has told a jury he loves Al-Qaeda and does not regret what happened to the father of one.

Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, are currently on trial at the Old Bailey accused of running the soldier over close to his barracks in Woolwich and hacking him to death with a meat cleaver on May 22.

Adebolajo, a married father of six, wore a black Islamic tunic as he gave evidence yesterday.

He said: “Al Qaida, I consider to be Mujahideen. I love them, they’re my brothers. I have never met them. I consider them my brothers in Islam.

“I will never regret obeying the command of Allah. That is all I can say. I’m a mujahid, I’m a soldier, I’m doing what Allah commands me to do. I can’t do anything else.”

Adebolajo, a former Christian, converted to Islam while studying at Greenwich University. He grew up in Romford and the ‘vast majority’ of his friends were white British.

He said that he held Tony Blair responsible when one of his friends joined the army and was killed in Iraq.

The two accused targeted Rigby and told the court that they prayed to Allah that he was a soldier and not a civilian, yet Adebolajo added that he holds no animosity or bad feeling towards the soldier’s family.

“Every soldier has a family, has a family who loves him just like me,” he said. “My family didn’t stop loving me the moment I became a soldier.

“I’m a soldier. I’m a soldier of Allah and I understand that some people might not recognise this because we do not wear fatigues and we do not go to the Brecon Beacons and train and this sort of thing. But we are still soldiers in the sight of Allah as a mujahid.

“I don’t believe there’s a way to know 100% that was a soldier, however there were some steps that we took. For example before we started out on that day and the night previous to that I started worshipping Allah and begging him that… we strike a soldier and a soldier only.”

As well as murder, Adebolajo and Adebowale are both accused of attempted murder of a police officer and conspiracy to murder a police officer, which they deny.

The trial continues.

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