The ISIS terrorist dubbed "Jihadi John" has been unmasked as Londoner Mohammed Emwazi, although Scotland Yard and Downing Street still have yet to confirm this.
As the Telegraph reports, Jihadi John -- murderer of at least five ISIS hostages -- had been known to security services since 2009 and approached by them multiple times before his escape to Syria in 2013. Indeed, MI5 had attempted to "turn" the 26-year-old terrorist, a computer science graduate from the University of Westminster, who by then had changed his name to Mohammed al-Ayan at the suggestion of his father to avoid the British authorities. The University of Westminster has in the past been questioned over links between its students union and extremist groups.
So, were these 'beautiful, kind-hearted young men' corrupted by MI5 as well? http://t.co/TG1TBvIz7G pic.twitter.com/tDjobu6dhq
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) February 27, 2015
The Daily Mail writes that Jihadi John was an "angelic schoolboy" before becoming one of the notoriously fanatical "London Boys" gang. A number of its members have flown to Syria in the past, after being trained by the al-Shabbab militant group in Somalia. It is thought that Jihadi John himself heads up a group of fanatics who call themselves "The Beatles." As the Inquisitr reported, Emwazi was filmed in at least seven brutal ISIS videos, including the beheading of both David Haines and Alan Henning, and is thought to have killed at least three more Western hostages. The most recent video in which he was filmed demanded a $200 million ransom for two Japanese hostages.
"You're going to have a lot of trouble," the man who became known as "Jihadi John" said. http://t.co/7akc4dsJ9R
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) February 27, 2015
As BBC News reports, investigations into Jihadi John's identity had come to fruition back in September 2014, due to the collaboration of MI5 with the FBI and other intelligence agencies. Before his escape to Syria, Emwazi had bemoaned to the lobby group Cage -- which supports those detained on terrorism charges -- that the British authorities were relentlessly pursuing him, claiming as far back as 2010 that they had prevented him from leading a normal life, inclusive of job and marriage. Asim Qureshi, research director of Cage, has gone so far as to suggest a lack of inclusiveness in Britain as the catalyst for Emwazi becoming Jihadi John.
"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."
Shocking defence of Jihadi John: Pressure group calls killer 'kind, gentle and beautiful' http://t.co/gshggKUkjk These ppl are as guilty!
— Steve Staten (@policydoubter) February 27, 2015
Jihadi John's family moved to Britain from Kuwait in 1993 following the Gulf War. They spoke Arabic among themselves and very little English. Eventually, they obtained a modest house in Maida Vale in West London and sent their son to a Church of England school where he was the only Muslim pupil. Many who knew him have expressed disbelief that the middle-class Queen's Park Emwazi could be the barbaric Jihadi John.
For secondary school, the man revealed as Jihadi John attended the St. John's Wood Quintin Kynaston Community Academy, at which time Emwazi appears to have become more dedicated to Islam, discarding his previously preferred Western style of dress for classically Islamic clothes. His sisters also then began wearing the hijab. By the time he attended the University of Westminster, Emwazi has also grown his beard out in the traditional style. Since his reveal as Jihadi John, the university has described itself as "shocked and sickened."
RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: No, Britain is not to blame for Jihadi John http://t.co/MajQcpT6he via @MailOnline Right on the button, brilliant piece
— graham wilson (@dankennik) February 27, 2015
As Reuters reports, for neighbors of the family of "the black-clad militant brandishing a knife" -- what has become the horrific symbol of ISIS -- the news that Mohammed Emwazi is Jihadi John has been a nightmarish eye-opening and they feel they must "be careful" in their own neighbourhood, where once they felt safe. Indeed, the public need to see this literal unmasking of Jihadi John, a current photograph exposing not simply the face identified with the name, but the evil behind the black mask.
Families of hostages killed by 'Jihadi John' want him captured http://t.co/FgdJ6neNOq pic.twitter.com/ZIoMK1wBje
— Irish Times World (@IrishTimesWorld) February 27, 2015
As CNN reports, the revelation of Jihadi John's identity has further highlighted pertinent discussions between the government and British universities, wherein the latter continue to resist legislation that states it is their duty to watch for extremism on campus and inform the authorities if evidence of "brainwashing" is found.
For the families of the victims of ISIS, it is perhaps David Haines' daughter Bethany's words which ring out clearest.
"I think all the families will feel closure and relief once there's a bullet between his eyes."
[Image courtesy of Carl Court/Getty Images]