A man accused of the gruesome murder of a British soldier told his trial on Monday that he loves Al-Qaeda and considers the Islamic militants to be his “brothers”.
Michael Adebolajo, 28, sat surrounded by security guards as he began giving evidence in his trial at London’s Old Bailey court.
He and Michael Adebowale, 22, are accused of murdering 25-year-old soldier Lee Rigby in broad daylight as he walked back to his London barracks in May.
The court has heard that the pair ran Rigby over with a car before attacking him with knives and Adebolajo attempted to behead him with a meat cleaver.
The defendants, both Britons of Nigerian descent, deny murder.
The soldier’s family sat just metres (feet) from Adebolajo in the courtroom as he said: “Al-Qaeda, I consider to be mujahideen. I love them, they’re my brothers.”
He added that he has never met members of the militant group.
Adebolajo said he had been raised as a Christian but converted to Islam in his first year at Greenwich University in south London, close to where Rigby was killed.
“My religion is everything,” he told the court.
The jury heard that Adebolajo, who has asked to be called Mujaahid Abu Hamza in court, is married and has six children.
Growing up in Romford, east of London, he said that the “vast majority” of his school friends were white Britons. One of them had joined the army and was killed in Iraq.
Adebolajo said he held former prime minister Tony Blair, who sent British forces to join the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, “responsible” for his friend’s death.
Adebolajo tried to travel to Somalia in 2010 but was captured in Kenya and brought back to Britain, the court heard.
He said that before the brutal attack on Rigby, he had attended demonstrations organised by an Islamist group banned under British anti-terror laws, but then realised the protests were “impotent rage”.
“In reality, no demonstration will make a difference,” he added.
He told the court several times that he was a “soldier” and that he did not regret what happened to Rigby.
“I will never regret obeying the command of Allah. That is all I can say,” he said.
The trial heard last week that Adebolajo told police he and Adebowale had targeted a soldier because they believed this was “the most fair target” in an attack aimed at avenging the deaths of Muslims abroad.
He said he tried to behead Rigby because it was the most “humane” way to kill him, comparing it to halal butchery methods.
New report targets 15 House Democrats who ‘deserve’ progressive primary challengers
As progressive candidates continue to announce their intentions to oust corporate Democrats, a new report names 15 House Democrats to unseat in primary challenges.
Published Monday by the left-leaning group RootsAction, the new report is entitled Bad Blues: Some of the House Democrats Who Deserve to Be 'Primaried.'
The list, the report notes, "is by no means exhaustive—only illustrative."
"There may well be a Democratic member of Congress near you not included here who serves corporate interests more than majority interests, or has simply grown tired or complacent in the never-ending struggles for social, racial, and economic justice as well as environmental sanity and peace," the report notes. "Perhaps you live in a district where voters are ready to be inspired by a progressive primary candidate because the Democrat in Congress is not up to the job."
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Groups lay out action agenda to advance climate solutions and strengthen resiliency
Scores of medical groups on Monday called the climate crisis "a health emergency" and laid out what they framed as a blueprint for the public and private sector to take swift action.
The agenda is signed by over 70 groups, including the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the National Association of Social Workers.
Citing CIA’s dark history, librarians protest agency’s recruiting at their conference
"Everything they stand for is a violation of the values of librarianship, so we protested."
A group of librarians demanded the American Library Association abide by its values on Friday as they staged a protest of the CIA's presence and recruitment at the professional organization's annual conference.