Aggressive: Jaseem Emwazi, father of Jihadi John, is back in Kuwait. Right, Mohammed Emwazi, now known as Jihadi John, ina 1996 school photograph
The father of Jihadi John moved his family to Britain from their native Kuwait after being accused of collaborating with Saddam Hussein’s forces during Iraq’s invasion of the country, it was claimed yesterday.
A picture of Jasem Emwazi has emerged which suggests he is a conservative Muslim who shielded his children from Western culture.
Meanwhile his daughter’s former boss revealed how he had been aggressively confronted by Mr Emwazi after he was forced to sack her.
Mr Emwazi is now believed to be in hiding in Kuwait after his 26-year-old son Mohammed was last week identified as the masked Islamic State butcher who has fronted horrific hostage execution videos.
Despite growing up in London, she ‘knew nothing about life’ and did not understand references to celebrities, such as reality TV star Kim Kardashian, popular films, cars and brands of alcohol, he said.
Mr Emwazi, 51, said by a family friend to be a former Kuwaiti police officer, was a member of the ‘Bidoun’ group of stateless people denied citizenship by countries in the Gulf.
Because he was originally from southern Iraq, he found his loyalties questioned after Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990.
The extremist, a former University of Westminster student, is in Syria
He and his family applied to become Kuwaiti citizens but were turned down after facing allegations that they collaborated with the Iraqi army during the seven-month occupation, Kuwait’s Al Qabas newspaper reported.
Mr Emwazi then took his wife and his children, including Mohammed, to live in Britain in 1993. They settled in the north-west London suburbs of Maida Vale and Queens Park.
Last night it was revealed that Mohammed Emwazi worked as a top salesman for a Kuwaiti IT company aged 21. His former boss told the Guardian that he was ‘the best employee we ever had’.
‘He was very good with people. Calm and decent. He came to our door and gave us his CV,’ he added.
Emwazi earned 300 Kuwaiti dinars (£657) per month, plus 50 dinars (£109) expenses, and was promised 5 per cent commission on business he brought in.
During his time at the company in Kuwait City he requested time off to travel to London on two separate occasions. He left for good in April 2010.
Soon after, counter-terrorism officials in London detained him and prevented him from returning to Kuwait.
His father is now understood to be in Kuwait with other members of the family. The Kuwaiti security services are said to be monitoring them around the clock.
They spoke to Mr Emwazi on Saturday night, Channel 4 News reported. Contacted by phone yesterday, he said in a troubled voice: ‘Yes, I am Mohammed’s father.
‘I am sorry but I don’t want to talk to the media.’
The property in north west London where Emwazi is thought to have been brought up. His family fleed Kuwait when he was a young child
It seems his 25-year-old daughter unwillingly went to live in Kuwait after graduating from the University of Greenwich with a degree in architecture in June 2010.
She worked for HZ+P architects in the Gulf State from February to September 2011, earning £900 a month.
The firm’s owner Hamed Zubaid, 49, recalled that she was a ‘troubled girl’ who would burst into tears in the office.
‘JIHADI JOHN WAS THE BEST EMPLOYEE WE EVER HAD’: IT BOSS SAYS KILLER WAS ‘CALM AND DECENT’
An IT firm in Kuwait where Jihadi John used to work has expressed its shock at learning their ‘best employee’ was the world’s most wanted terrorist.
The unnamed Kuwaiti IT firm, which hired Mohammed Emwazi during a stint in the Gulf before eventually fleeing London for Syria in 2013, described him as ‘the best employee we ever had’.
The boss told the Guardian newspaper: ‘He was very good with people. Calm and decent.
‘He came to our door and gave us his CV.
‘How could someone as calm and quiet as him become like the man who we saw on the news?
‘It’s just not logical that he could be this guy.’
‘I have no answers for this. He wasn’t sociable. He was always earnest.
‘He didn’t smile. But he wasn’t bad.’
He said Emwazi left the company when he returned to England abruptly in 2010.
The boss told the newspaper: ‘Maybe he fell into the wrong hands when he went back.’
‘Sometimes she used to cry. I remember she complained she didn’t want to be in Kuwait but her father was forcing her to be in Kuwait,’ he said.
‘She said she never felt at home here. She wanted to be in London. She was staying in her uncle’s house. She was saying that her uncle’s house didn’t make her feel comfortable.’
Mr Zubaid added: ‘She didn’t know the simplest things like which movie won an Oscar this year, or what car that was.
‘She didn’t know famous actors, or even what a bottle of Johnnie Walker whisky was. One time she asked, “Who’s Kim Kardashian?” She was sheltered in that way.
‘This is not what you would expect from someone who has grown up in London. Maybe the family forced her to lead quite a sheltered life.
‘I definitely got that impression.’ After eight months, Mr Zubaid decided to end her employment because she was struggling with the work.
Two weeks later, he learned she had complained to the Kuwaiti Ministry of Labour about her treatment.
Then she turned up at the offices with her father, who demanded that she should be paid three months’ salary as compensation for losing her job.
Mr Zubaid said: ‘The father said, “I will not let her work for a man like you”. He was such a rude person. I almost hit him – I pushed him out.
‘We let her on to our staff and gave her a chance.
‘We even bought her an airline ticket for England. We went through a lot of trouble for her.’
Killer’s links to London stun-gun robbers
by Vanessa Allen and Duncan Gardham
Mohammed Emwazi mixed with a violent street gang who used stun guns to target wealthy victims in London’s Mayfair, it has emerged.
He also had childhood links to other Islamic extremists who went on to join terror groups in Syria and Somalia.
Emwazi was known to associate with Choukri Ellekhlifi – a member of a masked gang which preyed on rich targets in a series of violent attacks.
The Moroccan-born criminal was thought to have been two years below the IS killer at Quintin Kynaston academy in St John’s Wood, North West London.
Emwazi was a known associate to Choukri Elleklifi (right) – a member of a masked gang which preyed on rich targets in a series of violent attacks in London
THE SCHOOL THAT PRODUCED THREE ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS: JIHADI JOHN’S ACADEMY UNDER INVESTIGATION
Up to five schools are being investigated by the Department for Education which is worried about the radicalisation of pupils, it was reported last night.
The department’s counter-extremism unit has been called in after it emerged that former pupils had joined extremist groups.
The review includes Mohammed Emwazi’s former school – Quintin Kynaston academy in London – which is known to have had at least three ex-pupils join Islamic terror organisations.
As well as Emwazi and gangster Choukri Ellekhlifi, former pupil Mohammed Sakr left Britain to join Somalia-based Al Shabaab before being killed in a US air strike in early 2012.
Questions have now been raised about whether enough was done to prevent teenagers at the school being brainwashed by extremists.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has ordered officials to investigate the academy’s records to examine what measures were in place to tackle radicalisation.
A spokesman for the department said that the academy is ‘clearly a different school today’ than it was when Emwazi attended, but said they were reviewing records to ‘see if there are any lessons we can learn for the future’.
The school insists it is not a terrorist breeding ground and that it has been ‘proactive’ in working with the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy. Current headteacher Alex Atherton said: ‘Students that may have attended nine years ago are not a reflection of the students we are proud of having at Quintin Kynaston.’
Emwazi’s former school, Quintin Kayston Academy in north London, is being investigated amid fears over the radicalisation of pupils
But he fled to join an Al Qaeda group in Syria before he could be brought to justice, and was killed by government forces near Aleppo in August 2013.
He and Emwazi were both said to have fallen under the sway of extremists while they were at secondary school, before Emwazi was further radicalised by hate preachers he encountered at Westminster University.
School contemporaries claimed the older boy was involved in regular fights and the ‘borderline stalking’ of a female classmate.
He was said to have dressed like a ‘gangster rapper’ as a teenager and to have experimented with alcohol and cannabis, before being radicalised by fanatical Islamists in his late teens.
It is thought the toxic combination of their preaching and the violence he was exposed to through his association with Ellekhlifi may have fuelled his own descent into hate-filled brutality.
Ellekhlifi and two friends committed eight robberies against wealthy victims in Mayfair, central London, in the space of a few days in July 2012 – not long before Emwazi travelled to Syria and joined Islamic State.
Wearing masks, they threatened their victims with a stun gun and demanded they hand over possessions including wallets, watches and mobile phones.
Two of their victims ended up in hospital with minor injuries after the stun gun was fired directly at them, and a sub-machine gun was later found at the home of one gang member.
Ellekhlifi was charged but fled to Syria. He was found guilty in his absence and sentenced to six years for conspiracy to rob.
Before his death, he was pictured in the country wearing paramilitary equipment and clutching an AK-47. Emwazi was never accused of taking part in the robberies carried out by the gang. In a separate case, he was charged with possessing stolen bicycles, but was later acquitted by a jury.
He has also been linked to a network of British-based jihadists who have avoided deportation by using the Human Rights Act to block moves to force them to leave Britain.
They include an Al Qaeda suspect with known connections to the failed July 21 London bomb plot and a second London-based man accused of attending an Al Shabaab training camp in Somalia.
Emwazi has also been linked to radical hate preachers who taught ‘white widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite and the Woolwich killers Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo.
Britain’s security services have faced criticism that he was able to travel to Syria undetected, despite his many links to known terror suspects.
This is despite emails sent by the militant in 2010 and 2011 claiming that MI5 was harassing him.
Universities are meant to advance human understanding, expand our knowledge and serve as a platform for debate.
But tragically, through their failure to confront and root out Islamist radicalism, some British institutions are achieving the very opposite.
Instead of deepening the liberal roots of our civilisation, they are helping to allow intolerance to flourish through their unwillingness to confront extremism in their midst.
That insidious process has been graphically demonstrated by the case of Mohammed Emwazi, the Islamic State butcher nicknamed ‘Jihadi John’.
Emwazi took off to join the murderous jihadi group Al-Shabaab within a few weeks of graduating in computer programming from Westminster University in London (pictured above)
As was revealed last week, Emwazi took off to join the murderous jihadi group Al-Shabaab within a few weeks of graduating in computer programming from Westminster University in London in 2009.
Having failed to sign up with Al-Shabaab in Somalia — he was arrested en route — he came back here.
MI5 approached him to try to make him see reason. Despite their best efforts, they could not dissuade him from violent fundamentalism. In 2013, Emwazi travelled to Syria. He is now the most repugnant terrorist in the world.f
It is wrong to blame MI5 for the failure to keep him here. There were no laws to hold him in Britain nor was there hard evidence against him. So, we need new legislation to uncover and deal with potential recruits, and stronger intelligence services.
But the recent criticism of MI5 echoes, unwisely, the mindless and offensive drivel put out by ‘human rights’ campaign group Cage: that Emazi became a jihadist because of harassment by the security services. We should support our security community — only our enemies want to undermine it.
Recent criticism of MI5 echoes, unwisely, the mindless and offensive drivel put out by ‘human rights’ campaign group Cage. Its research director Asim Qureshi is pictured
And, just as importantly, we must address the urgent question of Muslim radicalisation on British university campuses, especially through the influence of Islamic societies, which are often in thrall to a hardline agenda.
The roll call of student terrorists is long, indeed. James Brokenshire, the Security minister, has said that from 1999 to 2009, at least 45 per cent of those convicted of Al Qaeda-related terrorism in the UK had attended university or higher education colleges.
Yet neither the university system, dominated by the liberal Left, nor even important elements of the Coalition Government are willing to face up to this reality.
Only yesterday, it was revealed that the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable is trying to thwart Conservative plans to ban hate preachers from English universities.
‘Speakers who voice extreme views that are not aligned with British values of democracy and freedom should have the freedom to speak,’ said an aide to Cable, adding that even those who ‘want a caliphate’ should be heard in the public arena, because they could cause more damage by being ‘driven underground’.
This ultra-libertarian argument has long been the refuge of those unwilling to tackle radicalisation on campuses.
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, has publicly stated that ‘clamping down on speakers is just not the way forward’ and even claimed ‘the whole point of university is to listen to these things’. It is an argument that is echoed by many other key figures in the sector.
In January — before the identity of ‘Jihadi John’ was revealed — 24 such figures wrote to the Government, demanding universities be exempt from the provisions of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, which required them to keep an eye on their students and report extremist activity to the authorities.
One of the signatories was none other than Bill Rammell, head of Bedfordshire University, but from 2005 to 2008 a Labour Universities minister who insisted they work with government anti-terror plans.
How utterly depressing that he was supported not just by 500 professors, but by Baroness Manningham-Buller, once a doughty chief of MI5, but now head of Imperial College, and Lord (Ken) MacDonald, once a compelling Director of Public Prosecutions, but now reincarnated as a Oxford college head. The gamekeepers have become poachers.
Mohammad Sidique Khan (left) began his terror training within a few years of graduating from Leeds Metropolitan University while Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (right) the so-called ‘underpants bombers’, was a student at University College London
But their stance could hardly be more wrong-headed. Freedom of speech cannot be a licence to attack non-Muslims, liberated women, Jews or gays.
Nor can it be a platform to demand the stoning of adulterers or the celebration of theocratic barbarism.
The claim from Nicola Dandridge that there is ‘no evidence’ to link ‘student radicals with violent extremism’ is just absurd. The opposite is true. Emwazi’s name is to be added to the chilling list of students from Britain who have turned to terror.
Within a couple of years of graduating from Leeds Metropolitan University, the leader of the group responsible for the 2005 London bombings, Mohammad Sidique Khan, began his terror training.
In 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called ‘underpants bombers’, a student at University College London from 2005 to 2008, tried to kill 289 people on a U.S. plane. The third member of UCL to be involved in terrorism, he had run its Islamic Society.
The following year, Roshonara Choudhry, a 21-year-old student at King’s College, London, almost succeeded in killing MP Stephen Timms with a kitchen knife. Receiving a life sentence, she was the third terrorist from that stable.
The 2010 ‘Stockholm bomber’ Taimur al-Abdaly, meanwhile, was a graduate of Luton University.
Michael Adebolajo, who murdered Lee Rigby on the streets of London in 2013, was a student at the University of Greenwich, where he converted to Islam.
The time has come to monitor every Islamic society in English universities, with a view to banning them if they have supported extremism. Vince Cable could not be more wrong when he says that only those who directly incite violence should be silenced. Sooner or later, extremism leads to violence. It must be stamped out.
- Professor Anthony Glees is director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham.