At long last, we have a name to put to the masked knife-wielding murderer who has guided English-language audiences through so many memorable jihad beheading videos. “Jihadi John,” as he’s been known, turns out to be Mohammed Emwazi, a 26-year-old British citizen who was born in Kuwait, grew up in a comfortable West London family, earned a computer programming degree, and blew right past every one of the Obama Administration’s silly theories about joblessness and jihad on his way to becoming a face man (figuratively speaking) for ISIS.
“This demonstrates what we have long said about radicalization, that it is not something driven by poverty or social deprivation,” said the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London, after confirming they believe Jihadi John had been identified correctly. “Ideology clearly plays a big role in motivating some men to participate in jihadist causes.”
“You might be surprised to know that the Mohammed that I knew was extremely kind, extremely gentle, extremely soft spoken, was the most humble young man that I knew,” said Asim Qureshi, director of the British advocacy group CAGE, who is said to have known Emwazi since 2009.
How was such a kind and gentle soul turned to the cause of Generic Violent Extremism, which as we all know has nothing to do with any religion? Qureshi’s group CAGE has a few thoughts on that subject. “As many students, upon completing his studies, Mohammed wanted a break and planned a summer holiday to go to Tanzania, with one of the key attractions there being safari,” said a lengthy release from the group, quoted by Sky News.
Who knew so many British students went on safari in Tanzania after graduation? Alas, this particular student ran afoul of the Anti-Muslim Backlash, in the form of some mysterious goons who appeared out of nowhere to abuse young Mohammed for no reason whatsoever: “Without being given an official reason, he was denied entry. A number of armed officers were shouting and threatening; when a man called Emmanuel introduced himself,” the CAGE account continues. “He eventually physically dragged him to a car waiting outside and taken to a police station. He was thrown into a cell while officers tried to strip him to his underwear. He remained there for about 24 hours without food or drink, being threatened by officers armed with guns and sticks.”
They packed him off to Amsteram, where he got to spend quality time with two agents who introduced themselves as “Fernando from Dutch intelligence and Nick from MI-5.” They allegedly accused him of secretly plotting to travel to Somalia instead of Tanzania, vowed to keep him under surveillance, and tried to pressure him into signing up as an MI-5 informant.
The ordeal wasn’t over yet, because CAGE says Mohammed was stopped again in Dover and hauled off to another interrogation room, where he was questioned by two anti-terrorism officers about “his thoughts regarding 7/7 and 9/11, where he prayed, who his friends were, and the same questions asked by the MI5 agent in Holland claiming that they had information Mohammed wanted to go to Somalia having nothing to hide.” For good measure, the officials contacted his fiancee, who called off their wedding.
This sort of thing allegedly kept happening for years, as Mohammed took a computer job in Kuwait and was harassed by security services every time he flew back and forth to England, combined with police and agents constantly hassling his family in London. They even screwed up his second attempt to get married. It would seem that a sizable percentage of Britain’s national security apparatus was devoted to randomly picking on this one kind, gentle, humble kid for no reason. He eventually snapped, told his family he was going to Turkey to help war refugees, and headed off to Syria to join ISIS in 2013.
CAGE used this story to claim that British security services have “systematically engaged in the harassment of young Muslims, rendering their lives impossible and leaving them with no legal avenue to redress their situation.” Another example cited was Machael Adebolajo, one of the jihadis who ran down British soldier Lee Rigby with a car in southeast London in broad daylight last year and hacked him to death with machetes. Adebolajo’s effort to escape from a life sentence for murder by portraying himself as a “soldier of Allah” who was “at war with Britain” was rejected by a judge in 45 seconds flat last December.
“The culture of abuse now runs so deep in the UK that there are virtually entire communities which, due to security services acting outside of the rule of law, no longer have access to due process,” charges CAGE. “Individuals are prevented from travelling, placed under house arrest and in the worst cases tortured, rendered or killed, seemingly on the whim of security agents.”
So there you have it: ISIS and their religious ideology doesn’t radicalize anyone. It’s all the fault of security services. Reuters notes that MI-5 and British police aren’t commenting on the Jihadi John case because it’s still an investigation in process, and they don’t “confirm or deny matters relating to intelligence,” as a spokeswoman for Prime Minister David Cameron put it.
Senior fellow Shiraz Maher of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization was highly skeptical of CAGE’s claims: “I think this is an attempt to deflect attention from Jihadi John. They’re trying to lay the blame for this at the feet of the British government.”