In this section, there is a choice to read about the incident, or watch a video. Feel free to choose either, however be wary the video contains some upsetting scenes.

On the 22nd May 2013, Fusilier Lee Rigby, a serving member of the British Army, was attacked and killed whilst walking to his barracks in Woolwich, South East London. Two men, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale ran him down in their car before using knives and a cleaver to stab him to death. Once they had done so, they remained in the street with his body and asked bystanders to call the police.

Whilst they waited for the police to arrive, Adebolajo spoke into the camera of a witness who was filming the event. Having claimed Rigby had ‘killed Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan’, he went onto say

The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers. And this British soldier is one.... By Allah, we swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. So what if we want to live by the Sharia in Muslim lands? Why does that mean you must follow us and chase us and call us extremists and kill us?...when you drop a bomb do you think it hits one person? Or rather your bomb wipes out a whole family? ...Through many passages in the Koran we must fight them as they fight us...I apologise that women had to witness this today but in our lands women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your governments, they don’t care about you. You think David Cameron is gonna get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? Do you think politicians are going to die? No, it's going to be the average guy, like you and your children. So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back...leave our lands and you will live in peace.

Once the men had been arrested, they were both found guilty of terrorism offences and murder, meaning they were subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment.

The attack created a huge amount of anti-Islamic sentiment. Immediately after, the British National Party leader, Nick Griffin, posted on twitter blaming ‘mass immigration’ for the attack. Recorded hate crimes grew massively in the days and weeks after – incidents included assaults, vandalism of Mosques and ripping headscarves off of women. On the same night of the attack, a man entered a Mosque in Essex armed with two knives where he threatened the congregation and threw an explosive device.

In response to the event, the UK Government launched a task force to explore how the rise of Islamic extremism could be stemmed. This task force aimed to focus on radicalisations taking place in Mosques, universities and prisons. David Cameron, the Prime minister at the time, stated to Parliament on the same day as the first task force meeting:

When young men born and bred in this country are radicalised and turned into killers, we have to ask some tough questions about what is happening in our country. It is as if that for some young people there is a conveyor belt to radicalisation that has poisoned their minds with sick and perverted ideas. We need to dismantle this process at every stage – in schools, colleges, universities, on the internet, in our prisons, wherever it is taking place.

sky news report

Please be advised this video contains some upsetting scenes

UK Terrorism

UK Terrorism

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