The infamous British-accented ISIL militant, who is seen in a number of videos beheading foreign hostages and is known as “Jihadi John”, was radicalized as a result of the UK government’s wrong policies, the head of research at a London-based advocacy group says.
On Thursday, Asim Qureshi, the research director of the group CAGE, slammed British authorities for radicalizing young British Muslims by policies that authorize extreme actions against the young people.
He further said that the heavy-handed policies of the British authorities alienate young British Muslims.
“When we treat people as if they are outsiders, they will inevitably feel like outsiders – our entire national security strategy for the last 13 years has only increased alienation. A narrative of injustice has taken root,” Qureshi (pictured below) said.
The ISIL executioner was identified on Thursday as Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British citizen.
Qureshi, who personally knew Jihadi John and helped identify him, said the latter was “extremely kind, extremely gentle, extremely soft-spoken, was the most humble young person that I knew.”
Emwazi is said to be a man in his mid-20s, who was born in Kuwait and raised in an area of west London.
Qureshi said that Emwazi contacted the advocacy group in 2009, when he complained about the way British intelligence services treated him over suspicions that he had attempted to join al-Shabaab militants in Somalia during one of his trips to Africa.
In 2010, Emwazi told the advocacy group that the British intelligence services had prevented him from returning to his homeland, where he planned to find a job and marry, Qureshi added.
“I had a job waiting for me and marriage to get started. But now I feel like a prisoner, only not in a cage, in London,” Emwazi reportedly wrote in an e-mail to CAGE.
“A person imprisoned and controlled by security service men, stopping me from living my new life in my birthplace and country, Kuwait,” Emwazi further wrote.
Qureshi denounced the way young people are treated by the British intelligence services, saying when they face extreme action by the intelligence services, “they will look for belonging elsewhere.”
Identifying Jihadi John
Jihadi John was initially identified by reporters working for The Washington Post.
“I was trying to pick up pieces of information, data points, scraps,” said Adam Goldman, the Post reporter who discovered the identity of Jihadi John in association with colleague Souad Mekhennet.
Goldman said that intelligence officials in the US and the UK had known the real identity of Jihadi John but refused to reveal it.
“I was annoyed by the fact that he had anonymity and that US and British officials knew who he was but didn’t disclose it,” he added.
BBC steals from Washington Post?
He also said that state-funded British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) tried to claim that it is the first media outlet to learn the identity of Jihadi John while it in fact knew nothing about the story beyond militant’s real name.
“I think they learned it from us. What did they have? They had the name, we had the full story,” the Washington Post reporter said.
Two US officials and two US congressional sources also confirmed the identity of Jihadi John, but London police and British officials declined to either confirm or deny reports on his identity, CNN reported.
“We have previously asked media outlets not to speculate about the details of our investigation on the basis that life is at risk,” said Commander Richard Walton of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, adding, “We are not going to confirm the identity of anyone at this stage or give an update on the progress of this live counter-terrorism investigation.”
“We will neither confirm nor deny the current reporting as to the identity of Jihadi John,” a UK Foreign Office spokeswoman said.
Jihadi John has appeared in seven videos by the ISIL Takfiri group since August 2014, when he beheaded US journalist James Foley.
He also appeared in two videos in September 2014, when he beheaded US journalist Steve Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines (seen below in an orange jumpsuit next to Jihadi John).
Jihadi John was also shown in two other videos in October and November 2014, when he killed British aid worker Alan Henning and a Syrian soldier as well as US aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known as Peter Kassig, respectively.
In January 2015, Jihadi John was shown in another video in which he beheaded Japanese hostage Kenji Goto.
The ISIL terrorist group, with members from several Western countries including the UK, Canada, France, Australia and Germany, controls parts of Syria and Iraq, and has been carrying out horrific acts of violence, such as public decapitations and crucifixions, against all communities including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians.