timberland for kids ego Jihadi John was created in London
So we finally know who was behind the executioner’s mask; those merciless eyes glaring defiantly at us and his victims; that chillingly familiar London accent; the Timberland boots underneath the black robes, the arm wielding a serrated dagger.
They belong to a young man who, once upon a time, embraced British life to the full.
Mohammed Emwazi, 26, was a member of a local five a side football team. He supported Manchester United, wore Nike branded clothing, listened to music by pop group S Club 7, attended a Church of England school and was the beneficiary of a British university education.
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Mohammed Emwazi’s reincarnation as deranged killer Jihadi John represents the greatest betrayal of everything Britain did for him and laughs in the face of our right to free speech
Could his chilling reincarnation as Jihadi John, the psychopath who beheaded Western hostages, be a greater betrayal of everything this country has done for him and his family?
Mohammed Emwazi might have been born in Kuwait. But his murderous alter ego was made in Britain.
With hindsight, the road to Raqqa the Islamic State’s Syrian stronghold was clearly signposted.
He grew up in the streets around Ladbroke Grove, in the inner suburbs of West London an area that has become a breeding ground for Islamic militancy and home grown terror suspects.
He was befriended by Cage, the so called campaign and human rights group, whose leading light is someone who has expressed support for the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate and for the principle of death by stoning for adultery.
And, perhaps most significantly of all, he went to the University of Westminster, where, according to a report published yesterday,
no fewer than 22 events have been held since March 2012, providing a platform for speakers with a history of extremist views or involvement with extremist organisations.
Proof, if any were needed, of how our much cherished, and deeply entrenched, tradition of free speech is being abused and corrupted on our own shores.
Still, those who knew him during his adolescent years could be forgiven for failing to understand that a man given so much by Britain could commit such atrocities against the West.
Consider how much this country did give Jihadi John. His parents arrived in London in 1993 with their son and his younger sister, now a young professional with a bright future ahead of her, in the aftermath of the Gulf War.
Four more siblings would be born in the UK. During those early years, the family were happily ensconced in West London, in an area bordering the wealthy and influential Notting Hill.
His father ran a taxi firm and his mother brought up the children. The Emwazis frequently moved, swapping one rented property for another in the affluent Maida Vale area.
Emwazi wore Western clothing and became popular with his classmates at St Mary Magdalene C of E primary school in Maida Vale before enrolling at Quintin Kynaston, a successful academy in St John’s Wood.
The Islamic Society at the University of Westminster has long been associated with extremist views, with one former student saying he walked in on members celebrating 9/11
‘He was a diligent, hard working, lovely young man; responsible, quiet,’ recalled a former teacher. ‘He was everything you could want a student to be.’
Emwazi did well enough in his A levels to gain a place on the computer programming course at the University of Westminster in 2006.
Campuses across the country have faced questions about their links between their student unions and extremists. But few could have more controversial track records than Westminster.
Only this week, the university was forced to postpone an invitation to radical cleric Haitham al Haddad who was due to address the Islamic Society due to ‘increased sensitivity and security concerns’.
Haddad serves as a judge for the Islamic Sharia Council and is chairman of the Muslim Research and Development Foundation.
This organisation says it is ‘devoted to the articulation of classical Islamic principles in a manner that provides a platform for Islam to be the cure of all humanity’s ills.’
Al Haddad has been branded homophobic and is alleged to have described homosexuality as a ‘scourge’ and ‘a criminal act’.
He has also stated that a ‘man should not be questioned why he hit his wife, because that is something between them’.
He has also claimed that Jews are descended from pigs.
The proposed visit by such a divisive and poisonous figure at the university was far from unusual.
This was laid bare in a report by the Henry Jackson Society, a think tank which works alongside Student Rights,
an organisation set up to combat extremism in universities.