Woolwich: Soldier's Family Appeals For Calm

The family of murdered soldier Lee Rigby has appealed for calm and an end to attacks in the wake of his death.

In a statement following the opening of an inquest into the killing of the 25-year-old, the family said: "We would like to emphasise that Lee would not want people to use his name as an excuse to carry out attacks against others.

"We would not wish any other families to go through this harrowing experience and appeal to everyone to keep calm and show their respect in a peaceful manner."

The family also used the statement to thank the public for their "overwhelming support" since the soldier was hacked to death by two men as he returned to his barracks at Woolwich after a day working at the Tower of London.

It was issued through the Ministry of Defence on behalf of Drummer Rigby's stepfather Ian, his mother, Lyn and his estranged wife Rebecca with whom he has a two-year-old son, Jack.

It came after an inquest at Southwark Coroner's Court has heard how Drummer Rigby suffered "extensive and serious injuries" and had to be identified by a dental expert.

Since the killing there has been a significant increase in reports of attacks against Muslims and a number of arrests made over comments posted on social networking sites.

According to Faith Matters, an organisation that works to reduce extremism, some 212 incidents have been reported since Drummer Rigby's murder.

That compared to the average of four to eight cases a day reported to the group before the attack.

This afternoon, religious leaders in Woolwich will gather at the Greenwich Islamic Centre after Friday prayers in a bid to encourage peace in the community.

The Queen visited the barracks at Woolwich where she met personnel who co-ordinated the response of the Royal Artillery Barracks to the soldier's murder.

In the statement the family, who gave an emotional news conference a week ago, added that they were still struggling to come to terms with his death.

This week Drummer Rigby's fiancee Aimee West visited the scene of his death and released a short statement through Scotland Yard in which she paid tribute to the soldier.

Ms West said: "I am extremely proud of him and I am moved by all the flowers and tributes, and that he has been remembered by the nation as the great man that he was."

On Thursday, Michael Adebowale, 22, from Greenwich, appeared in court charged with the soldier's murder. He is due to appear again at the Old Bailey on Monday.

A second man, Michael Adebolajo, who was arrested on suspicion of the killing, remains in hospital after being shot by police.

:: A friend of Adbolajo has been charged with three terror offences after being arrested at the BBC, the Crown Prosecution Service has disclosed.

Abu Nusaybah, 28, was arrested after giving an interview to Newsnight last week.

The charges all relate to publishing material that could encourage the "commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism".

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