27 Feb 2015

Mohammed Emwazi: S Club 7 to IS – in pictures

The British man identified as the Islamic State fighter, believed to have beheaded several hostages, was a popular schoolboy who loved Manchester United and S Club 7.

Mohammed Emwazi, alleged to be Jihadi John, pictured in school. Credit: The Sun / News Syndication

Mohammed Emwazi was named as the masked man known as “Jihadi John“, appearing in numerous videos showing the brutal murders of western hostages.

Read more: Mohammed Emwazi - from west London to wielding the IS knife

The 26-year-old was described as “a beautiful young man” by Asim Qureshi of rights group Cage on Thursday. He blamed his radicalisation on UK security forces.

David Cameron, however, condemned the remarks. In a statement, the prime minister’s spokeswoman said: “It is completely reprehensible to suggest that anyone who carries out such brutal murders – they are the ones responsible and we should not be seeking to put blame on other people, particularly those who are working to keep British citizens safe.

“The people responsible for these murders are the people we are seeing in the videos.”

Picture from a school yearbook believed to be Mohammed Emwazi. Credit: The Sun / News Syndication

The computer programming graduate was described as “extremely gentle and kind” by Asim Qureshi, as new information sheds light on his aspirations to become a footballer as a child.

Writing in the school yearbook when he was 10-years-old, Emwazi said he looked forward to playing for a football team, and “scoring a goal” by the time he was 30.

Mohammad Emwazi, pictured in 1996. Credit: The Sun / News Syndication

Emwazi, who says his nickname is Mo, stated his favourite video game as Duke Nukem: Time to Kill, and best book as How to Kill a Monster.

He also lists The Simpsons as his favourite cartoon, his favourite food as chips, his favourite colour as blue and his favourite animal as monkey.

Born in Kuwait, he is understood to have arrived in Britain as a young boy, aged six. He then went on to attend St Magdalene’s Church of England primary school, where former classmates said he was the only Muslim in the class.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, a former classmate said: “He wasn’t so good in school, he was the bottom half of the class, but he was one of the sporty guys. He was popular.”