Banned Islamist group linked to Manchester man’s killing in Woolwich behind ‘one in five’ terror attacks

By Reece Lawrence

The banned Islamist group linked to the killing of a Manchester man in Woolwich are associated with almost one in five of those convicted of similar offences in the UK between 1998 and 2010.

Think-tank the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), which carried out research into the group, said many of those convicted of Islamist terrorist offences had some form of association with the Al-Muhajiroun organisation.

Michael Adebolajo was arrested after the brutal machete murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, of Middleton, on Wednesday.

The British-born Adebolajo was pictured with the group’s leader, Anjem Choudary, at a protest outside Paddington Green police station in 2007.

HJS Executive Director Alan Mendoza said: “Al-Muhajiroun’s targeting of soldiers is not an isolated incident, but part of an ongoing campaign of violence and intimidation.”

Mr Choudary told the BBC he was ‘shocked’ by what happened but did not condemn the killing.

He added: “What he said in the clip, I think not many Muslims can disagree with.”

Adebolajo, who along with fellow suspect Michael Adebowale, was seen on camera shortly after the incident with bloodied hands carrying weapons including a machete.

Al-Muhajiroun has operated since the 1980s but was proscribed by the government in 2010.

Mr Mendoza said: “Al-Muhajiroun has now been connected to terrorist acts for well over a decade. Despite banning the group, the government has been unable to effectively halt their activities.”

Incidents of attacks on soldiers by members of the group have occurred in the past, notably in 1998, when one tried to firebomb a Territorial Army base in London.

More recently, five supporters were convicted after protesting a parade in Luton in 2010 for returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Picture courtesy of BBC News, via iPlayer, with thanks.

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