The Education of ‘Jihadi John’

Last week, the man called “Jihadi John” by the world’s media was unmasked as Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born Muslim and naturalized British citizen from London. Not only that, but the Islamic State’s most notorious Western recruit was identified as a graduate in computer science from the University of Westminster.

Majid Nawaz claims that the University of Westminster is well known for being a hotbed of extremist activity. He states that the university’s Islamic Society is heavily influenced, sometimes controlled, by the radical Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir and regularly gives a platform to preachers of hate. On the very day of the Emwazi revelation, the university was to host a lecture by Haitham al-Haddad — a man accused of espousing homophobiaadvocating female genital mutilation and professing that Jewish people are descended from apes and pigs. The event was suspended not by the university authorities, but by the Islamic Society, which pulled it only because of security concerns.

The leap from being an ordinary British teenager to joining the Islamic State is huge. But it is a much smaller step for someone raised in a climate in which dreams of resurrecting a caliphate and enforcing a distorted form of Islam are normalized. Until we confront this seeming legitimacy of Islamist discourse at the grass roots, we will not stop the scourge of radicalization.

Charities sever ties with Cage over Emwazi links

Two charities have agreed to no longer fund the controversial advocacy group Cage, which has faced questions over its links to Mohammed Emwazi, the Briton identified as Islamic State killer ‘Jihadi John’. The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust joined the Roddick Foundation in agreeing not to give any more money to Cage, despite its initial reluctance to go that far.

The commission said it was acting on concerns it held before the revelations relating to Emwazi and that its unease had been exacerbated by Cage’s response to media questioning over its links to the west Londoner. In a press conference after reports that he had been identified first surfaced, Cage’s Asim Qureshi said it had been in regular contact with Emwazi in the past.

It was keen to point out the role of the British security services in his radicalisation and reluctant to directly and explicitly condemn his actions.

Speaking after it emerged that the charities had agreed to sever their ties, a Cage spokesman said they respected the decision. Amandla Thomas-Johnson said: “We thank them for their past support. Both of these charities have played a significant role in contributing to the development of Muslim civil society here in the UK.”