Western Intelligence services have identified the previously-unknown, knife-wielding man, Jihadi John, as Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born, British-educated man from London’s west end. Emwazi introduced himself to the world late last year when he narrated a video prior to beheading an American journalist, James Foley.
According to the BBC, Emwazi departed the United Kingdom in 2009 after graduating from the University of Westminster with a degree in computer programming. Emwazi arrived in Africa, was briefly detained in Tanzania and then set off to Amsterdam, where he was delayed by British MI5 as a suspect involved in a London apparatus of men involved with Somali-based al-Shabab.
In Amsterdam, Emwazi claimed MI5 attempted to recruit him; he declined and continued his journey to Kuwait, where he briefly worked as a computer programmer. On a 2010-return trip to London, Emwazi was, once again, detained by British authorities for suspected involvement in terror activities. It has been reported Emwazi’s migrations eventually took him to Syria where he joined ISIL.
Emwazi’s identification stems largely from conversations with an acquaintance, Asim Qureshi, of London’s human rights group, Cage. According to Qureshi, “(Emwazi) is extremely kind, gentle and soft-spoken, the most humble young person I knew.”
In a 2010 e-mail to Cage, Emwazi revealed his feelings toward the West, writing:
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 [but] a person imprisoned and controlled by security service men, stopping me from living my new life in my birthplace and country, Kuwait.
Mr. Qureshi characterized Mr. Emwazi’s trials with British Intelligence Services by relating: “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.”
While the world has now become intimately familiar with Mr. Emwazi’s handiwork, it appears as if British MI5 had reason to suspect Emwazi all along and released him for lack of proper evidence, perfectly illustrating Western justice.
Mr. Qureshi: Charming company you keep.
Mr. Emwazi: Welcome to the World’s Most Wanted List.