Michael Adebolajo, one of two men on trial for killing a British soldier on a busy London street, told a court that members of the terror group al-Qaeda were his “brothers.”
“I love them,” the 28-year-old Adebolajo testified in the U.K. capital today. “I have never met them but they are my brothers.”
Adebolajo, who has asked to be called Mujaahid Abu Hamza, and Michael Adebowale, 22, are on trial on charges they killed soldier Lee Rigby with cleavers and knives while bystanders looked on in horror. He told the court that he didn’t regret “obeying the command of Allah” in the attack on Rigby.
“We targeted a soldier and we killed a soldier,” Adebolajo said. “I killed him, yes.”
Adebolajo, who said he turned to Islam while at university, told the court today that many Muslims will “hate my guts” because of the attacks.
“But that is not my concern,” he said. “My concern is, does Allah love me?”
Both men have pleaded not guilty to murder and guilty to possession of a firearm. His lawyer, David Gottlieb, asked Adebolajo what should happen at the end of the trial.
“As an enemy soldier, I believe I should be ransomed to my mujahid brothers,” Adebolajo said. “Or I should be set free, or I should be killed.”
Adebolajo said he handed a note to a woman in the street after the killing to send a message to the U.K. government.
“This was happening for one reason and one reason only and that is foreign policy,” he said. “The life of this one soldier might save the lives of many, many people, not just from Muslim lands, but from this country.”
Rigby, 25, was attacked just after 2 p.m. on May 22 outside a military barracks in the Woolwich neighborhood of southeast London.
Rigby, the father of a 2-year-old son when he died, was a drummer in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. A fan of the Manchester United soccer team, he served as a machine gunner in Cyprus and then in 2009 as a member of a fire support group in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Soldier of Allah
“It’s a war between Islam and those militaries that invade Muslim lands,” Adebolajo said. “I’m a soldier of Allah and I understand that some people might not recognize 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.”
Adebolajo, who said he was married with six children including a 7-year-old son, said he didn’t blame Rigby’s family.
“I don’t wish harm upon them,” he said of the family who attended court today. “I killed somebody that they love.”
Throughout his cross-examination by prosecutor Richard Whittam, Adebolajo refused to answer some questions about the attack, saying the questions lacked “decency.”
“I think you are being disingenuous,” he told Whittam.
“We planned a military attack which obviously involved, sadly, it’s not something enjoyable, something fantastic, the death of a soldier,” he said “It’s a military attack.”
Adebowale is scheduled to give testify tomorrow.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at email@example.com