Mohammed Emwazi, the Londoner who has become the face of ISIS, describes being interrogated
Mohammed Emwazi denied he was an extremist and denounced extremism in a 2009 interview he gave to an advocacy group.
The man who became known as Jihadi John and the masked face of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) after appearing to kill hostages in a series of videos, complained that he was victimized after he was deported from Tanzania and questioned by the security services.
Emwazi went to the London-based group CAGE, which works with people affected by what they call “the war on terror,” after being questioned by an British counterterrorism officer. In the recording of the interview with CAGE, Emwazi recounts the interrogation: “He started telling me what do you think of 9/11? I told him: ‘This is a wrong thing. What happened was wrong. What do you want me to say? If I had the opportunity for those lives to come back then I would make those lives come back.”
He added, “I told him everything that’s been happening is extremism. Everything — the bombs or whatever — that’s happening have been from extremists.”
The recording ends with Emwazi alleging that the agent threatened him and said, “We are going to keep a close eye on you, Mohammed.”
Last week, after Jihadi John’s identity was revealed, CAGE issued statements suggesting the U.K. authorities’ treatment of Emwazi was the cause of his radicalization. CAGE research director Asim Qureshi said in a statement on Feb. 26, “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.”
READ MORE: Inside ISIS, a TIME Special Report