New details emerging from England and Kuwait about ‘Jihadi John’ – unmasked as Londonder Mohammad Emwazi – paint the picture of a normal person who did not figure on the radar of the security services while at school or as an employee.
The British press have been reporting various aspects of his life, including a photo from his school days when he was supposed to have fancied a classmate. He was said to be a hard-working student who showed no signs of being radicalised while at school.
Jo Shuter, former head teacher at Quintin Kynaston Academy in London, where Emwazi studied, told the BBC that he was a “hardworking and aspirational young man” when she knew him as a teenager.
She said: “He was quiet, he was reasonably hardworking”. Emwazi had “adolescent issues” and was bullied at school, she added, but he eventually settled down and did well enough academically to be admitted to the university that was his first choice.
“I can’t stress enough, he wasn’t a huge concern to us…I am not prepared to say when the radicalisation took place. All I can say is absolutely hand on heart, we had no knowledge of it,” she said.
Emwazi was described as a calm and ideal employee by his former manager of an IT company in Kuwait, where he was born, and where he went after university for a job, the Guardian reported from Kuwait.
His unnamed manager said: “He was the best employee we ever had. He was very good with people, calm and decent, he came to our door and gave us his CV.”
He said the staff was surprised that a Londoner would want to come and work in Kuwait, as many of his peers in the region would be looking to make the journey in the opposite direction.
Emwazi reportedly disappeared completely in April 2010 after a trip to London.
“How could someone as calm and quiet as him become like the man who we saw on the news? It’s just not logical that he could be this guy,” the manager said.
Other reports from Kuwait said Emwazi’s family members had been instructed by authorities not to speak to the media.