One of the suspects in the killing of a British military drummer last week saw a friend “literally sliced to pieces” when they were both teenagers.

That victim, 18-year-old Faridon Alizada, was stabbed to death in 2008 by a bare knuckle fighter who was suffering from a drug induced psychotic episode. Michael Adebowale, one of the alleged assailants in last week’s slaying and Alizada’s friend, was stabbed too. Some of the boys were involved in a local gang.

Reports Saturday say Adebowale’s mother sought help from a local mosque out of fear that her son was losing his grip on reality when he dropped out of college nine months ago. Both Adebowale and 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo, the other suspect in the recent killing, appear to have converted to Islam around the time they left college.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Independent:

Adebolajo was said to have been popular at his school in Romford, Essex, but Adebowale was bullied at Kidbrooke High School in Greenwich.

A friend who has known him since he was 11 told The Times: “He was one of us … just normal, nothing completely evil about him at all. He went around preaching Islam, preaching peace though. I must say the whole reform into Islam was quite a sudden change. It was a big shock. But it suited him. It looked like he was doing well.”

Simone Edwards, 22, a close friend of Adebowale’s, said that he converted after being bullied at school. She said: “He was kind of having problems with a couple of gangs. I think he was just looking for somewhere to belong. When he found Islam he finally found a piece of family.”

Read more

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig