25 Jul 2016

‘Jihadi Jack’: ‘If they want to bomb me, they’ll bomb me’

The middle-class Briton dubbed “Jihadi Jack” tells Channel 4 News in an exclusive interview that he travelled to Syria to study and has “no regrets”- while insisting he is “currently” not a fighter.

Twenty-year-old Jack Letts also says that, under the “English Government’s definition”, because he “opposes a non-Islamic system”, he would be viewed as “a terrorist”.

Letts had a comfortable upbringing in Oxford, before converting to Islam and travelling to Syria around two years ago.

His parents, John Letts and Sally Lane, are awaiting trial after being charged with terrorism offences relating to allegedly sending him money.

In the exclusive audio interview, Letts said: “I came here searching for the truth, and people of the truth, and I don’t regret that I came.”

Peppering his speech with Arabic phrases, he adds: “I searched for the people of truth, and I found a lot of them here. I found people that act on what they learn and teach, and benefited a lot from them, alhamdulillah {praise be to God}.

“So it was an odd choice, but it was a very good choice, alhamdulillah, because if I didn’t come here I wouldn’t have met some very good knowledgeable people.”

‘They’d say I’m a terrorist’

Asked if he’s a terrorist, he replies: “Do you mean by the English Government’s definition, that anyone that opposes a non-Islamic system and man-made laws? Then, of course, by that definition, I suppose they’d say I’m a terrorist, khalas {done}.”

Asked if he is a fighter: “Khalas, they’ll say what they want. Currently I’m not. But, khalas, they’ll say what they want.”

But he insisted he is not a member of Isis. He said: “I’m not and nor do I agree with a lot of what they follow.”

Letts has also released an online statement in Arabic that goes so far as to criticise Isis. It reads: “I oppose so-called Islamic State, but that doesn’t mean I am with you, the dirty non-Muslims.”

The bold statement could potentially put his safety at risk, and he wrote that it should be remembered as his final words if he were killed.

He also revealed he narrowly survived an airstrike with just a “scratch”, as the Isis-controlled area has come under bombardment from British, American, French and Russian forces in recent months.

'Jihadi Jack'

‘Everyone is going to die on their day’

But he insisted he is not afraid to die, adding: “I’m not worried. Everyone is going to die on their day. Whether it’s by a drone strike, a Muslim understands that his life is between the hands of Allaah. So if they want to bomb me, they’ll bomb me.”

Letts’ parents have been charged with a series of terrorism offences after allegedly trying to send £1,700 to their son.

The couple have been charged with three counts of arranging the availability of property or money to another person, knowing or having reasonable cause to suspect it could be used for the purpose of terrorism.

His mother has been charged with two further counts of attempting to provide money or property knowing or having reasonable cause to suspect it could be used for the purpose of terrorism.

They were originally remanded in custody for five days in early June, but were later released on appeal. They are due to stand trial in January.

The couple have previously spoken to Channel 4 News claiming their son had a history of mental health problems and they feared for his life. They deny all the charges against them, and insist any money was for food and spectacles.

‘Die in your rage’

Asked about his parents’ ordeal, Letts called on them to convert to Islam. He said: “I call them to Islam, if they understand Islam they’d understand what they’re in and why what’s happened to them has happened. So inshallah {God willing}, I hope that they follow the path of all of the Prophets.”

In another online statement, he said he “hated” his parents “for the sake of Allaah” because they are non-believers. He added: “They reject the religion of truth, so I reject them. I hate the Kuffaar, and am free from them. Die in your rage.”

Letts adds that he has no plans to try to come back to the UK. “No, I don’t plan on going back to England,” he said. “If I came back to England I don’t think I’d be very welcome. But I don’t plan on coming back anyway, alhamdulillah. I don’t want to come back.”

But he admits missing the treats he used to enjoy back at home in Oxford. He said: “Not big things, small things like kebabs, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, but other than that, not really.”

He also insists he does not suffer from mental health issues, such as OCD – as has been reported – and has not been brainwashed or radicalised.