(NEW YORK DAILY NEWS) – Adebolajo was identified online by Muslim clerics and reports as a 28-year-old raised in a devout Christian family. He reportedly converted to Islam after college. He and a second suspect in Wednesday’s barbaric slaying of a British solder in broad daylight remained hospitalized Thursday.
One of the terror suspects accused of butchering a British soldier on a London street has been identified as Michael Adebolajo, who was raised in a devout Christian family and converted to Islam after college, reports said.
A Muslim cleric named the 28-year-old, although authorities had yet to confirm his identity early Thursday.
“He converted around 2003 to Islam, before I met him and I knew him as his convert name Mujaheed when he used to attend our demonstrations and lectures,” claimed London cleric Anjem Choudary, according to ‘Metro UK’.
Choudary, himself a controversial imam in Britain and outspoken critic of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, called Adebolajo a “quiet” and “pleasant lad.”
The self-proclaimed jihadi may have been a student at London’s University of Greenwich and lived in the area around 2004 and 2005. A spokeswoman for the school wouldn’t confirm Thursday whether he attended classes.
Adebolajo is allegedly seen in a cell phone video clutching a bloodied knife and ranting just moments after the soldier was viciously slaughtered and beheaded Wednesday afternoon “like a piece of meat,” witnesses said.
The other suspect, seen wearing a tan coat and shouting, “We want to start a war in London tonight!” has not been identified.
They were both shot after charging at police at the scene in London’s Woolwich neighborhood. They remain in separate hospitals held by armed guards.
Government sources suggest both Adebolajo and his accomplice were known to the security services MI5 and police, Sky News reported.
A home belonging to Adebolajo’s family was raided Thursday morning after authorities obtained a search warrant.
Other properties in the London area were also being searched, according to reports.
“This is in connection with the ongoing investigation into the murder of a man in Woolwich. The Metropolitan Police are not prepared to discuss the matter further at this stage,” authorities said in a statement.
Neighbors of the family in Lincolnshire, about 150 miles north of the murder scene, said they had lived there for about a decade.
Adebolajo’s father, Anthony Adebolajo, is described as a 56-year-old nurse of Nigerian descent, according to the website ‘This is Lincolnshire’. He also reportedly has a brother and a sister.
“They were very quiet people and kept … to themselves,” said neighbor Marjorie Arnold. “There always used to be three cars parked on their drive, but yesterday I noticed there was only one.
“There were lots of cars parked around here last night,” she added. “I thought there must have been a party. It is all quite disturbing.”
London authorities have beefed up security and deployed 1,200 extra officers on the streets as well as at houses of worship.
Although both of the suspects are believed to have converted to a radical form of Islam, they weren’t immediately linked to terror groups in Nigeria, such as the jihadist organization Boko Haram.
The soldier who was killed is believed to be about 20 and was not identified early Thursday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his visit to France to meet with his emergency crisis committee. He spoke publicly Thursday morning about the barbaric killing.
“The fault lies solely and purely with the sickening individuals who carried out this appalling attack,” Cameron said.
He added that Britian would not give into terrorism, and “this was not just an attack on Britain and the British way of life — it was also a betrayal of Islam.”
The Prime Minister also praised Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, a 48-year-old Cub Scout leader and mom who was so outraged by the daytime attack that she confronted one of the suspects — even though he was brandishing a long butcher knife.
“When told by an attacker that he wanted to start a war in London she replied, ‘You’re going to lose, it is only you versus many’ — she spoke for us all,” Cameron said.