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Arrests of 2 in British soldier’s slaughter signal wider Islamist terror plot
The Muslim Council of Great Britain condemned the killing, calling it a “truly barbaric act.”
“This action will no doubt heighten tensions on the streets of the United Kingdom,” the council said. “We call on all our communities, Muslim and non-Muslim, to come together in solidarity to ensure the forces of hatred do not prevail. It is important we allow our police authorities to do their job without speculation.”
Wednesday night, Tommy Robinson, leader of the far-right English Defense League, led an anti-Muslim march through Woolwich that resulted in violent scuffles with residents.
Mosques were the targets of attempted attacks in the towns of Braintree and Gillingham, just outside London.
Londoners expressed anger Thursday over the soldier’s slaying, but some said they didn’t blame Islam or British Muslims for the attack.
“It’s not terrorism but a brutal murder using that as an excuse,” said Jordan Blackman, a builder.
Others expressed shock.
“It’s one thing to be killed in action abroad, but for something like this to happen in your own country and on the streets of the capital is just disgusting,” said Rob Bryfield, a construction worker. “I don’t think it’s terrorism, though. They just say [that] on the news to scare us.”
On Thursday, a Muslim hard-liner said publicly that Mr. Adebolajo took part in demonstrations with the banned radical group al-Muhajirounoun.
Omar Bakri Muhammad, who is in Lebanon but once was a radical Muslim preacher in London, told The Associated Press that Mr. Adebolajo was a “shy person” who was keen to learn about Islam.
“I was very surprised to learn that he is the suspect in the attack,” Mr. Muhammad said.
Security officials have been increasingly concerned over British nationals, especially converts to Islam, becoming “lone wolf” extremists. Dozens of Britons have been questioned for seeking out Islamist training and trying to fight for jihad overseas.
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