The blight on the face of humanity known as ‘Jihadi John’ has finally been unmasked. The world’s most wanted individual, with a $10 million bounty on his head, is apparently Kuwaiti-born West Londoner Mohammed Emwazi. Prior to becoming a serial killer he worked in I.T.
Emwazi is not renowned for his java programming skills, but rather the abhorrent, cold-blooded and utterly pointless murders of a succession of people who just happened to find themselves in the wrong place at the worst possible time. Unlike his victims, who felt compelled to visit Syria to help distribute aid to its people, or to report its ongoing humanitarian catastrophe to the rest of the world, he travelled there for reasons which were the polar opposite. He is one of the many young men, and women, magnetically drawn towards Syria and Iraq’s sectarian hell intent on fuelling its flames.
Members of the CAGE Advocacy Group, founded by former militant and Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg, used a press conference to shift the blame for Emwazi’s bloodlust onto MI5. In a classic Catch-22, they claimed he was radicalised because he was hassled by MI5 (who hassle people suspected to be radicalised).
Beautiful and kind? Rarely in thousands of years of civilisation can there have been such a chasm between then and now
The conference took a bizarre twist when one spokesman, welling up with tears, explained Emwazi had been a beautiful, kind young man. If that is the case, you would think that rarely in thousands of years of civilization can there have been such a chasm between then and now. For the families of all the hostages whose lives he has taken for the sake of tawdry propaganda footage, he must epitomize all that is ugly and evil in the world.
Beheadings reveal that for all that humankind aspires to cure cancer and question the origins of the universe, hope and aspiration will always be impeded by violence, stupidity and religious extremism. None of the horror in North Africa and the Middle East would be unfolding if there weren’t scriptures being pored over to find some warped justification. Many people outside the region haven't the remotest idea of the difference between the Sunni and Shia versions of Islam, let alone why this should inspire people to murder complete strangers. (Of course, this would also be the same when explaining the Ulster 'Troubles' to a taxi driver in Damascus). We will never know what really transformed an I.T. specialist into a butcher any more than why Islamophobe and self-confessed Christian terrorist Anders Breivik murdered 77 people in Norway in 2011.
Drones v Snuff Movies
Apologists for any religious extremism don’t get the basic principle that most of us learned as kids: two wrongs will never make a right. The surviving family members of Afghan wedding parties incinerated by US drones hitting the wrong target will certainly bear a grudge. If anyone was filming the moment various smiling children were atomized, then that footage would be no less abhorrent than IS snuff movies.
Two young Jehovah Witnesses came to my door during the week. I did ask them for their take on the never-ending cycle of violence in the Holy Land. They assured me that life on Earth is finite, and God will eventually choose his moment to destroy all existing governments, and non-Witnesses. I was left wondering how much longer he is going to leave us all waiting while his name continues to be used by deluded psychopaths to justify murder.