Islamist extremists linked to soldier murder suspects
An extensive network of Islamist extremists and terrorism suspects lies behind the men suspected of murdering Drummer Lee Rigby, it has emerged.
Both men had direct links with Usman Ali, an alleged extremist and former member of the banned group Al-Muhajiroun, and Khalid Fikry, an extremist cleric and supporter of convicted terrorists.
Michael Adebolajo, the older of the two suspects, was also close friends with Ibrahim Hassan, who has served time in prison for inciting terrorism overseas. Others in their circle include Richard Dart, a white Muslim convert who was jailed earlier this year over a plot to target soldiers' funeral corteges at Royal Wootton Bassett.
The freshly discovered links are in addition to strong connections between both men and Anjem Choudary, the former leader of Al-Muhajiroun, which he took over from Omar Bakri Mohammed, the man who converted Adebolajo to Islam.
The sheer number of radicals and terrorism suspects connected to the two men raises yet more uncomfortable questions for the British security services about their assessment of the two suspects, who are understood to have been categorised as not posing a threat to life.
One of Adebolajo's close friends is Ibrahim Hassan – also known as Abu Nasaybah – who was arrested at the BBC on Friday night on suspicion of terrorism offences after giving an interview to 'Newsnight'.
He was jailed in 2008 for inciting terrorism abroad, alongside Abu Izzadeen, another Muslim convert who was radicalised by Abu Hamza, the hook-handed cleric awaiting trial for terrorism offences in the US.
Hassan was regularly seen at demonstrations with Dart. He also featured in a TV documentary about Dart called 'My Brother the Islamist'.
It emerged yesterday that Adebolajo (28) and his co-accused, Michael Adebowale (22), attended a prayer group organised by Usman Ali.
Ali (36) a former member of Al-Muhajiroun, was banned for life from the Greenwich Islamic Centre in 2007 after the mosque's trustees won an injunction against him.
Both men are also thought to have come into contact with Khalid Fikry, an extremist cleric who has supported convicted terrorists, and who has spoken at events at the Islamic Society of Greenwich University, where both suspects studied.
Last week, Omar Bakri Mohammed, the so-called 'Tottenham Ayatollah' who founded Al-Muhajiroun and is now banned from the UK, said he had personally converted Adebolajo.
Bakri Mohammed also said Adebowale was "well known" to his successor Anjem Choudary.
There were calls yesterday for Choudary to be placed under a Terrorism Prevention Investigation Measure but he said: "I don't think they have a case. I read the legislation – it's all about people involved in inciting terrorism or involved in terrorism themselves. When have I ever done that?" (© Daily Telegraph, London)