Increase in anti-Muslim incidents reported
Six months before Michael Adebolajo ended up killing a British soldier on a London street on Wednesday, MI5 tried to recruit him after discovering his links with extremist groups, it emerged on Saturday as the murder sparked fears of an anti-Muslim backlash amid reports of attacks on mosques and individuals .
Both Adebolajo and his accomplice Michael Adebowale are Muslim converts.
Inter-faith charity “Faith Matters” reported a significant increase in anti-Muslim incidents which, it said, included name calling, death threats and pulling women’s headscarves.
“What’s really concerning is the spread of these incidents. They’re coming in from right across the country… some of them are quite aggressive very focused… there also seems to be significant online activity... suggesting coordination of incidents and attacks against institutions or places where Muslims congregate,” said its director Fiyaz Mughal.
Muslim and Christian leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, issued a joint appeal for communal peace.
The claim that MI5 tried to get Adebolajo to work for them was made by a childhood friend of his Abu Nusaybah. He said Adebolajo told him he was “harassed” by MI5 after he returned from Kenya six months ago.
“His wording was, ‘They are bugging me — they won’t leave me alone.’ Initially they wanted to ask him if he knew certain individuals. But after him saying that he didn’t know these individuals, what he said was they asked him if he would be interested in working for them. He was explicit in that he refused to work for them but he did confirm he didn’t know the individuals,” he said.
Mr. Nusaybah was arrested on suspected terrorism offences as he came out of the BBC offices but his arrest was said not to be directly related to Rigby’s murder.