‘Jihadi John’ Update: Identity, Real Name and Background

( [email protected] ) Mar 05, 2015 02:30 AM EST
The infamous ISIS militant known as “Jihadi John” has been identified by the FBI as Mohammed Emwazi. However, his father claimed on Wednesday that there was no proof to back those claims up.
'Jihadi John' pictured with Japanese Journalist Kenji Goto, who was later beheaded by the militant.

The infamous ISIS militant known as "Jihadi John" has been identified by the FBI as Mohammed Emwazi. However, his father claimed on Wednesday that there was no proof to back those claims up.

According to a report from Agence France-Presse, Jassem Emwazi spoke with Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas about his son, Mohammed. The Arabic paper claimed that it conducted the interview with Emwazi at a secret location.

"There is nothing that proves what is being circulated in the media, especially through video clips and footage, that the accused is my son Mohammed, who is being referred to as the alleged executioner of Daesh (Islamic State)," Emwazi said.

AFP reported that Mohammed, who was born in Kuwait, is accused of being an ISIS jihadist who killed several Western hostages; those actions were captured on video and transmitted on the Internet. His father denied the allegations regarding his son.

"I have a message to the Kuwaiti people that many of the rumors are false," Emwazi said to the Kuwaiti newspaper. "Because I felt that some people have believed it, I have assigned a lawyer to defend me and to prove ... that what is being said is untrue."

Emwazi's latest statements appear to contradict, if not retract, previous statements that he and wife recognized his son's voice, according to AFP. His lawyer, Salem al-Hashash, indicated to AFP that he would file lawsuits against anyone who made such accusations against Emwazi's family.

However, a co-worker of Emwazi told NBC News that the father uttered "May God ... take revenge on him as he did to us" after news reports broke regarding his son's alleged role in ISIS. Lawyers for the Emwazi family indicated that their client was "in shock and upset" by the allegations.

"There's no evidence this is his son," lawyer Fahd Khaled Aba Alkhail said. "His face is covered. We cannot know...This is all false accusation."

Alkhail added that there "no evidence" from Western security agencies to prove that the ISIS militant's identity was Emwazi's son.

"Maybe the name here is correct, but the face is not," attorney al-Hashash said.

Robert Tait of The Telegraph managed to speak with Emwazi's co-worker, identified as 40-year-old Abu Meshaal. The co-worker noted that Emwazi felt devastated by the news reports that supposedly identified his son as an ISIS militant.

"He was very emotional and crying the whole time," Meshaal said. "He said, 'my son is a dog, he is an animal, a terrorist.' He said he had talked to him a lot trying to persuade him to return to his personal life but that the son didn't listen to him. He said, 'To hell with my son.'"

Meshaal emphasized to Tait that Emwazi's father "emphatically rejected" his eldest son, who asked for his parents' blessing to fight as a jihadist in Syria during a 2013 phone call from Turkey.

"Mohammed called his father and said 'I'm going to Syria to fight jihad, please release me and forgive me for everything,'" Meshaal said. "Jassem said, 'I hope you die before you arrive in Syria.'"

Tait reported that according to Meshaal, Emwazi suddenly became self-conscious and ashamed about his son.

"He said he cannot come back to work because he felt so shy of other people," Meshaal said. "He is sitting home and cannot even go to the mosque to pray because he is ashamed of his son. He doesn't want people to see him, so he is praying at home."

However, according to Tait, Emwazi's employer told him that he would not be held responsible for whatever his son did, adding that he can return to work. In addition, Kuwait authorities indicated that they have no objections for Emwazi to continue working with the Co-op, which he has done since 2013.

"He has not reported for work since last Friday, the day after his son was publicly identified as Jihadi John in the international media," Tait wrote in regards to Emwazi.

Tait added that Emwazi's wife, Ghania, lives in London, while the elder Emwazi lives in Kuwait with his daughter, Asma, a sister and his mother.

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