The world knows him as “Jihadi John,” the masked man with a British accent who has beheaded several hostages held by the Islamic State and who taunts audiences in videos circulated widely online.
But his real name, according to friends and others familiar with his case, is Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming. He is believed to have traveled to Syria around 2012 and to have later joined the Islamic State, the group whose barbarity he has come to symbolize.
The Kuwaiti-born Emwazi, in his mid-20s, appears to have left little trail on social media or elsewhere online. Those who knew him say he was polite and had a penchant for wearing stylish clothes while adhering to the tenets of his Islamic faith. He had a beard and was mindful of making eye contact with women, friends said.
He was raised in a middle-class neighborhood in London and on occasion prayed at a mosque in Greenwich.
Emwazi decided to move to his birthplace, Kuwait, where he landed a job working for a computer company, according to the e-mails he wrote to Qureshi. He came back to London twice, the second time to finalize his wedding plans to a woman in Kuwait.
A job and a wife! I guess he still has a job, only he employs knife strokes in place of keystrokes.
Three men from Brooklyn have been arrested and charged with trying to help the Islamic State, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in federal court on Wednesday.
They had also discussed harming President Obama and carrying out attacks in the United States if they were unable to travel overseas. One of the three men was arrested while trying to fly to Turkey, where authorities say he planned to head to the border with Syria to meet with representatives from the Islamic State. Another of the men planned to follow him there next month, while the third man was helping finance some of these travel efforts.
Juraboev, 24, and Habibov, 30, are both citizens of Uzbekistan; Saidakhmetov, 19, is a citizen of Kazakhstan. The complaint says that Juraboev and Saidakhmetov, who were set to appear Wednesday at the U.S. courthouse in Brooklyn, are legal, permanent residents of the country; Habibov, who is not described that way, appeared at the U.S. courthouse in Jacksonville, Fla. The three men each face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for attempting to join Islamic State, which is also known as ISIL or ISIS.
Federal agents visited Juraboev at his home last August after seeing postings on a Web site that promoted Islamic State to Uzbek audiences, the complaint said. These postings discussed whether someone in the United States could swear an oath to Islamic State and discussed killing Obama.
“I am in USA now but we don’t have any arms,” the post said. “But is it possible to commit ourselves as dedicated martyrs anyway while here? What I’m saying is, to shoot Obama and then get shot ourselves, will it do? That will strike fear in the hearts of infidels.”
Habibov runs mall kiosks that fix cellphones and sell kitchenware in Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Virginia, according to the complaint, and Saidakhmetov worked for him at some of these kiosks last year.
Legal immigrants, gainfully employed, living the American Dream—and they still wanted to blow sh*t up. Marie Harf is going to take this awfully hard.