Jihadi John

The exposure of the identity of the terrorist nicknamed Jihadi John, who spoke English with a typical London accent, has been made by The Washington Post as Mohammed Emwazi.  He was responsible for the cold-blooded beheading of 5 western hostages, shown in publicly released videos for propaganda purposes.  His identity was deliberately withheld for some time because of the interest of the British and American security services to capture him, but now it has been exposed.

It is interesting to consider what his identity reveals about the terrorists of IS, particularly those from western countries.  First of all, he was born in Kuwait, and comes obviously from a Muslim background.  Second he grew up in West London and came from an affluent family and had a university education specializing in computers.  What does this tell us, that he is a poor, deprived, persecuted Muslim?  No, not at all.  He was educated, affluent and well-liked by his peers.  He complained about being harassed by the secret services, but apparently their interest in him was justified.  He was interviewed by the anti-terrorist force after he went to east Africa in 2006 and made contact with the Al Shabab militant Islamic organization in Somalia.  Subsequently he went to a Mosque in West London where he mixed in extremist circles and then disappeared into Syria around 2012, when the Islamic State was actually founded.  It is clear that he was involved in extremist terrorist organizations long before the was identified as Jihadi John.

Most of those who have travelled from Western countries to Syria to join the IS have been the same, not poor, deprived, persecuted Muslims, but affluent, educated, practising Muslims.  This was true for the three young girls (15 and 16) who recently left Britain for Syria.  They are likely to be already married off to young fighters, and then passed around, an inducement to die for Allah.  So tell all those good liberals out there who suppose that the solution to the problem is education and tackling the root cause of persecution and more money, etc. etc., that it just ain’t so.  The problem is not in the West, the problem is the ideology of the Islamists.

But, one unusual parallel is that support for the IS is somewhat like support for Zionism, that made many Jews up and leave their countries of origin in order to fight for and develop the Jewish homeland, Israel.   The big difference is that despite all the negative propaganda and stereotypes, Israel is a democracy that allows freedom of religion and protects minority rights, ask the Christians in Israel.

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