From Mohammed Emwazi to ‘Jihadi John’

Here’s a short timeline of everything we know about Mohammed Emwazi so far.

Mohammed Emwazi was born in Kuwait in 1988. His family moved to the UK when he was six years old and lived in various places in London, reports the Telegraph.

The Telegraph

Credit: The Telegraph

He joined St Mary Magdalene Church of England primary school in Maida Vale when he was six and had the ambition to become a professional footballer, informs ITV.


Mohammed Emwazi at primary school in 1996. Credit: The Sun/News Syndication

Emwazi then attended the Quintin Kynaston Community Academy in St John’s Wood. Allegedly, while he was attending secondary school, Emwazi worshipped occasionally at a mosque in Greenwich. After that he studied computer programming at the University of Westminster.

He graduated in 2009 and soon after that he travelled to Tanzania. He wanted to go on a safari there but was denied permission to enter the country. The BBC reports that Emwazi has been a ‘person of interest’ to British security services ever since but for ‘operational reasons’ this information was never revealed.

His name appeared in a report by the Independent from 2010, so around that time he was going under the name Muhammad ibn Muazzam.

It is believed that it was after his detention in Tanzania that Emwazi became increasingly radicalised. He later claimed that he and his friends were flown from Tanzania to Amsterdam. There an MI5 officer questioned him and later accused him of attempting to travel to Somalia, where the jihadist group al-Shabaab was based, reports the BBC.


Credit: the BBC

Later in 2009 Emzawi went to Kuwait and stayed with his father’s family. He remained there for around eight months and even landed a good computing job. He returned to London in 2010 to visit his relatives. According to Cage he was questioned as soon as he landed at Heathrow Airport. After spending some time in the UK he tried to return to Kuwait but was denied a visa.

In 2012 Emwazi took and passed a course to teach English as a foreign language and allegedly changed his name in order to make it easier to travel. In 2013 he was planning on returning to Kuwait but once again was refused entry. He was reported missing soon after that. Four months later, police told Emwazi’s family that he had entered Syria.


Credit: the BBC

He then joined Isis, where he was given the moniker ‘Jihadi John’ by hostages. They described him as one of three British jihadists (known as ‘the Beatles’) guarding Westerners abducted by the terrorist group in Syria. Among his victims are US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines, US aid worker Peter Kassig and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.


ISIS video screenshot

On Thursday this week the Washington Post revealed his identity.

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