The identity of the terrorist known as ‘Jihadi John’ has been revealed by the Washington Post as that of 27 year old West Londoner Mohammed Emwazi.
Emwazi attended Quintin Kynaston Academy in London district. Two of his classmates from high-school have since been killed while fighting for terrorist groups abroad.
One, Mohammed Sakr was killed was killed in a drone strike while in Somalia fighting for Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab in 2012. The second, Choukri Ellekhlifi died in 2013 fighting for an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria. Both were reportedly close with Emwazi while at school.
Emwazi then went on to study computer science at Westminster University. Some specualte that he may have been radicalized there.
The Huffington Post UK reported the testimony of one student who described how many members of Westminster University’s Islamic Society held “uncomfortably pro-politically Islamist views.” Another student reported that “The Islamic Society at the university, for one, is known to invite radical preachers.”
In 2011 the Student Union elected a president (Tarik Mahri) and vice-president (Jamal Achchi) with links to the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which supports the establishment of a global Islamic Caliphate governed by Sharia law.
The Guardian newspaper reported that at Westminster University Islamic Society “Previous speakers have included Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaida leader killed by a US drone strike in Yemen in September 2011; Hizb ut-Tahrir member Jamal Harwood; and Dr Khalid Fikry, who has given speeches in which he appears to suggest that Shia Muslims believe ‘raping a Sunni woman is a matter that pleases Allah.’”
Since these revelations came to light Westminster University has suspended all ‘sensitive’ events.
Yet the UK based charity organization CAGE (formerly CAGEPrisoners) has expressed its support for the man identified as Jihadi John, revealing that they had extensive dealings with Mohammed Emwazi from 2009 to 2012 and blaming his radicalization squarely on 'harassment' from the British government.
The group’s research director, Asim Qureshi, told reporters “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.”
Qureshi said in a written statement released by the group: “Like Michael Adebolajo, suffocating domestic policies aimed at turning a person into an informant but which prevent a person from fulfilling their basic life needs would have left a lasting impression on Emwazi. He desperately wanted to use the system to change his situation, but the system ultimately rejected him.”
Michael Adebolajo was the terrorist who killed drummer Lee Rigby in broad daylight last year.
Qureshi continued “This case should trigger thinking about British domestic and foreign policy. What risk assessments, if any, have been made about British counter-terrorism policy and the key part it plays in radicalising individuals? How have the security services been allowed to get away with abusing British citizens without redress? Why are the long-standing grievances over Western interventions in the Muslim world been ignored?”
Nor does Quershi seem to have confined his support for terrorists to individual cases. Footage has emerged, reportedly of him, addressing a Hib-ut –Tahrir rally in 2006, calling on all Muslims to support jihad “against the oppression of the West.”
CAGE, originally known as CAGEPrisoners, was founded by volunteers in 2003, but fronted by former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg after . In 2014, Moazzam Begg was arrested in the UK on charges of “providing terrorist training and funding terrorism overseas” relating to the war in Syria. He has since been released.
CAGE bills itself as “an independent advocacy organisation working to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror. The organisation highlights and campaigns against state policies, striving for a world free from oppression and injustice.” Yet it supports the Muslim Brotherood, submitting a report on behalf of the group to the British Government’s review of that organization. The report was entitled “Criminalizing Non-Violent Organizations” and argued that “UK Government engagement with its leaders should be resumed in promotion of dialogue and understanding.”
CAGE’s spokesperson Cerie Bullivant, himself the subject of previous MI5 terrorism investigation, followed the lead of Asim Qureshi and blamed the atrocities committed by Jihadi John on the actions of the British State. He stormed off the air live during a sky news interview.
He had refused to condemn the atrocities of Jihadi John, instead accusing the interviewer, Kay Burley, of islamophobia and racism.
Figures from across the political spectrum lined up to slam CAGE for its brazen support of terrorists in the aftermath of the revelations. Left Foot Forward described the group as a “a shady Salafi PR outfit.” The magazine’s editor James Bloodworth castigated moral relativists on the left in a fierce op-ed entitled “CAGE: I hate to say we told you so.”
Khalid Mahmoud, the Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr “We must take action on this organisation that has supported people who have committed such heinous and barbaric acts.”
A spokeswoman for Britain’s Conservative Prie Minsiter David Cameron slammed CAGE’s remarks, saying “we should not be seeking to put blame on other people, particularly those who are working to keep British citizens safe. The people responsible for these murders are the people we are seeing in the videos.”
Writer and activist Noor Elahi argued in October 2014 in Left Foot Forward, before these revelations came to light that “Their [CAGE’s] agenda is to be an advocacy group for Islamic fundamentalism in British society, and to use the left as the soap powder for that washing.”
CAGE’s positions and motivations amount to clear and explicit support for Islamist ideologies.
As Elahi notes, Qureshi said in an interview with Julian Assange that he supports in theory the death penalty for adultery and the punishments ordained by the Hudud. In the same interview, Moazzem Begg described the establishment of a Caliphate as a united Muslim block governed by sharia law as something that “most people would want.”
She concludes by saying “The road down which certain left-wing apologists for Moazzam Begg and CAGE are travelling is a tragic one, because there is little sign of self-awareness of these issues, and it will end in tears. Far-right Salafi Jihadism and Islamism will, like a parasite, consume its carrier and co-travellers.”
It is imperative that groups like CAGE are prevented from obsfucated and distorting the issues if extremism is to be combatted effectively.