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Emwazi school remains silent about ‘Jihadi John’ link

06 March 2015


Youthful image: a primary-school photo of Mohammed Emwazi

Youthful image: a primary-school photo of Mohammed Emwazi

THE C of E primary school attended by Mohammed Emwazi - identified last week as the Islamic State terrorist "Jihadi John" - has remained silent about his time at the school.

St Mary Magdalene C of E Primary School, near Paddington, west London, has not commented on the connection, and the diocese of London also declined to comment.

After his identity was revealed by The Washington Post, more details have emerged of Mr Emwazi's background. He was born in Kuwait, but grew up in Britain, joining St Mary Magdalene in 1996. He later at- tended Quinton Kynaston School (QK), in St John's Wood, west London.

A former teacher at the secondary school told the BBC that Mr Emwazi had had therapy to control his anger, but that he was also a "lovely boy" who did not have a troubled background, and had left the school with good qualifications.

In a statement, the school said that it was "shocked and sickened" that Mr Emwazi had gone on to join IS in Syria: "QK has been extremely proactive in working with the Government's Prevent strategy [a counter-radicalisation programme] . . . and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future."

Mr Emwazi later studied computing at the University of Westminster, before leaving for Syria in 2013. He became infamous after appearing on numerous IS videos, with his face covered by a black mask, holding a knife up to the camera before appearing to behead hostages, including journalists and aid workers.

The organisation Cage, which campaigns on behalf of those it claims are being harassed by the security services, said last week that Mr Emwazi appealed for its help in 2009, after he was briefly detained and questioned by intelligence officers while trying to visit Tanzania.

He was accused of attempting to reach the civil war in Somalia, and was asked to become an informant for MI5. Cage said that he was then repeatedly prevented from emigrating to Kuwait.

A Downing Street spokesman said that any suggestion that Mr Emwazi had become a jihadist because of MI5's actions was "completely reprehensible". The Prime Minister had praised the work of "extraordinary men and women" from the security services, the spokesman said.

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