Since 2001, the British authorities have systematically shifted the spotlight away from its foreign policy and its security agencies by placing blame for violence at home and abroad solely on Muslims. British security services have systematically engaged in the harassment of young Muslims, rendering their lives impossible and leaving them with no legal avenue to redress their situation.
A Washington Post correspondent contacted CAGE regarding a story she was working on. CAGE Research Director, Asim Qureshi met with the journalist, where she inquired about the name Mohammed Emwazi. Qureshi went away with that information and checked CAGE’s files, revealing that Emwazi was a case that he had worked on due to security service harassment. The following day, the journalist revealed to Qureshi that she knew from her own sources, that the man known as Jihadi John was Mohammed Emwazi. The journalist showed Qureshi a video of Jihadi John in order to identify him. Qureshi clarified that while there were some striking similarities, that due to the hood, there was no way he could be 100% certain.
In 2010 Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton who, according to reports in the Washington Post, has been identified as ‘Jihadi John’, had been planning a trip back to the country of his birth, Kuwait. What ensued, was two years of communications with CAGE, highlighting interference by the UK security agencies as he sought to find redress within the system. He told CAGE at the time:
“I never got onto the flight, what was the point, I said to myself; I’ll just get rejected. I had a job waiting for me and marriage to get started. But now I feel like a prisoner, only not in a cage, in London. A person imprisoned and controlled by security service men, stopping me from living my new life in my birthplace and my country, Kuwait.”
Mr Emwazi went on to say: “I have been trying to find out the reason for my refused Visa issue from my home country Kuwait, and a way to solve the issue. So through my friends in Kuwait, it has been said to me that Kuwait has no problem with me entering, and the reason for my refusal is simply because the UK agents have told them to not let me in!!”
Asim Qureshi, Research Director of CAGE, said: “Like Michael Adebolajo, suffocating domestic policies aimed at turning a person into an informant but which prevent a person from fulfilling their basic life needs would have left a lasting impression on Emwazi. He desperately wanted to use the system to change his situation, but the system ultimately rejected him.”
The culture of abuse now runs so deep in the UK that there are virtually entire communities which, due to security services acting outside of the rule of law, no longer have access to due process. Individuals are prevented from travelling, placed under house arrest and in the worst cases tortured, rendered or killed, seemingly on the whim of security agents.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has also multiplied its military intervention in Muslim countries, only leading to more resentment and calls by fighting groups for retaliation. Groups such as IS did not express the will to strike British interests before the coalition’s bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq.
Asim Qureshi continued: “We now have evidence that there are several young Britons whose lives were not only ruined by security agencies, but who became disenfranchised and turned to violence because of British counter-terrorism policies coupled with long standing grievances over Western foreign policy.
“This case should trigger thinking about British domestic and foreign policy. What risk assessments, if any, have been made about British counter-terrorism policy and the key part it plays in radicalising individuals? How have the security services been allowed to get away with abusing British citizens without redress? Why are the long-standing grievances over Western interventions in the Muslim world been ignored?
“All parties genuinely interested in achieving peace and safety ought to realise that revising British foreign and domestic policy is the only way forward. Acting otherwise would be irresponsible.”
More details on press conference to follow.
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)