This past week saw the horrific murder of soldier Lee Rigby on the streets of Woolwich, south London by two men armed with knives and guns, who after the killing told shocked bystanders that they were avenging the deaths of people in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. The British government sent troops to both countries to overthrow their governments and support pro-Western polities that infuriated religious extremists all over the world.
Lee Rigby, who was a serving soldier with the British armed forces and had completed a tour in Afghanistan, was returning to Woolwich Barracks when the two men rammed into him with a car. As the vehicle mounted the pavement, Rigby, father of a two-year-old boy, was knocked to the ground before the two men, identified as Michael Adebolajo & Michael Adebolawe, dragged him and began hacking at Rigby with the knives as well shooting him in the stomach – leaving him with massive blood loss and fatal injuries to his neck and head.
The Woolwich barracks where Flr. Rigby was stationed. He died only a short distance from here, when two men attacked him in the high street.
Horrified witnesses described how the two Michaels hacked at Rigby, a member of the Drummers regiment, like a ‘piece of meat’. Rigby was not in uniform at the time but had been wearing a t-shirt from the soldier’s charity Help For Heroes. The two men then dragged Rigby into the busy main road, only fifty yards from a school and 200 yards from Rigby’s place of work. As locals ran to help the fatally wounded Fusilier, the two killers began running up and down the street, inviting people to take pictures and even telling one observer that the killing was a justified response to the deaths of Muslim people abroad. Speaking in a strong London accent, Michael Adebolajo, a Nigerian-born man who also went by the name of Mujahid, stated how he had killed Lee Rigby to avenge the deaths of people at the hands of the British military, using the Biblical expression “an eye for an eye”. Adebolajo was still clutching the butcher’s knife that he used to mercilessly stab Lee Rigby, and delivered his rant with his hands completely soaked in the soldier’s blood.
Armed police arrived at the scene within 15 minutes, whereupon the two killers charged at the officers with their gun and knives drawn. Both were shot, but survived their injuries and were driven to local hospitals. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, called an emergency meeting with the Cobra Committee, a top-level government anti-terrorism response unit and soldiers were temporarily warned not to walk the streets in their characteristic camouflage uniforms, an order that was soon withdrawn.
The whole country went into mourning after this brutal murder. Many people began calling for more respect to be shown to the armed forces, while Help For Heroes, the charity whom Rigby supported, received so many orders for their branded t-shirts and sweaters that their website crashed. Racists and Islamophobes have however used the tragedy to carry revenge attacks against Muslims in the United Kingdom, despite statements of condemnation being issued by senior Islamic bodies such as London mosques and the Muslim Council of Britain. Offensive graffiti was daubed on the walls of a mosque in Braintree, Essex, while another place of worship in Gillingham, Kent has its windows smashed by a man who was later arrested. A Pakistani-owned fast food shop in Upton Park, east London, was attacked by two men who broke the shop-front windows and assaulted staff on duty while shouting anti-Muslim epithets. Both of the Woolwich men claimed to be Muslims,despite murder being a grave sin according to Islamic teachings. Michael Adebolajo was once associated with banned extremist group Al-Muhajiroun (The Emigrants in Arabic).
BBC News has released a collection of pictures relating to the Woolwich murder and responses. They include an official photograph of Lee Rigby in full regalia. This picture was professionally shot to celebrate Rigby’s service and was widely circulated in the British media when Flr. Rigby was formally identified a few days after his murder. There are also pictures taken from the murder scene, police securing the area and people visiting Woolwich to lay flowers at a memorial to the slain soldier.
The pictures can be seen at this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22631274
Please note some of the pictures are graphic in nature and may be unsuitable for young viewers or viewers with a nervous disposition.
Article suggestion and link to BBC photos supplied by Anjali Shah.
The Half-Eaten Mind would like to extend its condolences to the family of Fusilier Lee Rigby, and wishes to remind readers that the two killers are not reflective of the wider UK Muslim community, the vast majority whom are peaceful and wish to live in co-existence with all other British communities – free from prejudice.
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