A group working with British Muslims says the man identified as the Islamic State militant ‘Jihadi John’ bears striking similarities to a man it came in to contact with in London.
Mohammed Emwazi has been named by news organisations as the masked militant appearing in a series of ISIL beheading videos.
But the group CAGE, which works with Muslims in conflict with British intelligence, spoke of a character at odds with the image in the videos.
“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 person that I knew”, said CAGE Research Director Asim Qureshi.“While I think that there are some striking similarities between the young man that I remember and the person we see on the video, I can’t be a hundred percent certain..he’s got a hood on, come on guys.”
According to the Washington Post and the BBC, Emwazi was born in Kuwait, grew up in London and studied computer programming at the University of Westminster.
The CAGE group said Emwazi first contacted them in 2009 claiming he had been being questioned by Dutch and British intelligence after he was deported from Tanzania, a country he visited with two other men after leaving university.
Qureshi said that the following year Emwazi accused British intelligence of preventing him from traveling to Kuwait where he planned to marry. He quoted an email Emwazi is purported to have sent claiming he had a job lined up in Kuwait but that now he felt like a prisoner in London.