The Henry Jackson Society notes today’s conviction of Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale in the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in May 2013 and suggests that the targeting of soldiers on British soil is likely to continue.
Both men were connected to the proscribed Islamist group al-Muhajiroun and attended some of the group’s protests. They are the latest in a long line of individuals connected to al-Muhajiroun who have committed a terrorist act or been convicted in UK courts for terrorism offences.
The Henry Jackson Society’s research on Islamism-inspired terrorism convictions and attacks in the UK between 1998 and 2010 showed that 18% – almost one in five – of all those convicted were either members of, or had known links to, al-Muhajiroun.
Al-Muhajiroun has a fifteen year history of targeting military personnel or institutions – in this country as well as abroad.
In 1998 al-Muhajiroun member Amer Mirza attempted to firebomb a West London Territorial Army base. In 2004 four al-Muhajiroun members made speeches at Regent’s Park Mosque where they incited the audience to kill British and US troops abroad. In 2010 five al-Muhajiroun members were convicted for threatening the public order while protesting a homecoming parade in Luton for soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
HJS Research Fellow Hannah Stuart said: “While the guilty verdicts in this case are welcome, terrorism attacks on British soil will happen again as long as this extremism goes unchallenged.
“Al-Muhajiroun has been connected to terrorist acts for fifteen years. Despite banning the group, the government has been unable to effectively halt their activities. Al-Muhajiroun’s targeting of soldiers is not an isolated incident, but part of an ongoing campaign of violence and intimidation.”