ISIS Prisoner John Cantlie to Family: ‘Forget Me, I Wouldn’t Come Back Even if I Had The Choice’

John Cantlie Halab
Islamic State

The British journalist made prisoner, and now turned apparently willing ISIS propagandist appears to have penned another article for Islamic State (ISIS) recruitment magazine Dabiq, in which he levels strong criticisms at the British government, and “right-wing” newspapers for ignoring his plight.

Although it is impossible to tell whether the article was written by Cantlie himself, who signed  off his latest Islamic State short film by saying it was the “last in the series”, or merely written for him by his Islamist masters, the article appears to give a personal perspective on Cantlie’s incarceration and his political radicalisation over the past couple of years. Cantlie writes at length about Western governments, who he accuses of running a “hate factory” by unwittingly creating the Islamist terrorists through bombing campaigns that they claim to want to defeat, and of betraying him “when the chips are down” by not negotiating for his release.

Commenting sardonically on the apparent indifference he claims he has been treated with by the British government, he said of the response given to each new video he releases: the only thing I’m aware that the British government has done in my case is to comment pointlessly on the release
of my videos.

The Crusader Eric Pickles

An illustration of Eric Pickles in the latest edition of Dabiq, which describes him as a ‘Crusader’

“We are aware of the release of another video and are studying its contents,” a Foreign Office spokesman will say. Awesome. Good job.”

Some particular members of the British government come in for more criticism than others. Cantlie mocks Eric Pickles for his attempts to reach out to the British Islamic community in the immediate aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, saying he “blurted” out comments on a religion he had no understanding of. The comments clearly link to other articles in the magazine, one of which explains those who claim Islam is the “religion of peace” are heretics, as the Quran clearly explains Islam to be the “religion of the sword”.

This argument is supported with the quote “the basis of the religion is a guiding book and a supporting sword”. This argument is advanced by another article which expounds on the diminishing “grey area” of Muslims caught between what the author sees as the true Islam of the Islamic State, and the decadent West.

Quoting a former U.S. President, the article explains this grey area now no longer exists, with Muslims who fail to oppose the Western world becoming “sinful”: “Bush spoke the truth when he said, ‘Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.’ Meaning, either you are with the crusade or you are with Islam.”

Islam Religion of Peace

Illustration from the latest Dabiq magazine, with a strong message for the West

Cantlie also held criticism for the British media, who he said had failed to hold the government to account for its own failure to rescue him from the Islamic State. He appears so disappointed at being let down by the British government, he urged his friends and family to give up hope. He said: “But let it go.

“Leave it be and get on with your lives, all of you. What can the remnants of one family, smashed and emotionally exhausted after two years of searching, be expected to do by themselves while the government, so full of intelligence officials, think tanks, and pompous men in suits, sits back impassively and does nothing?”

He instead praises new media outlets and citizen journalists for asking the tough questions which the mainstream media were apparently unwilling to. Paying tribute to users of twitter who spoke about his incarceration, he then spoke of his own future: “The truth of the matter, for anyone who is interested, is that I’m making the most of my situation. Way back in September I said I would speak out against our deceitful governments for as long as the mujahidin allowed me to live, and now in February that still remains the case.”

“Despite being a prisoner, I’ve been shown respect and kindness, which I haven’t seen from my own government. Even if I had the choice, could I honestly return to and live in a country that disowned the other Britons, all their families, and myself so contemptuously?

“I don’t think so.”