An audio tape from 2009 has surfaced in which ‘Jihadi John’ – unmasked as Mohammad Emwazi – claims that he was not an extremist and terms the September 2001 twin tower attacks in New York as ‘wrong’.
London mayor Boris Johnson clashed on Tuesday with Asim Qureshi, research director of campaign group Cage, for the latter holding the alleged harassment by security services responsible for the radicalisation of Amwazi.
The group supports communities affected by the ‘war on terror’. The tape was made by Qureshi in 2009 on a dictaphone.
In the tape, Emwazi reportedly says that intelligence agency MI5 had threatened him and tried to "put words into my mouth". The tape was made after Emwazi was deported from Tanzania and questioned by MI5.
According to Emwazi, MI5 officers had been "threatening" him and told him: "We're going to keep a close eye on you Mohammed, we already have been." He said the officer also asked him what he thought of 9/11, the war in Afghanistan and the 7 July attacks in London.
Emwazi is said to have replied that "innocent people" had been killed in the 7/7 attacks and it was "extremism". He also said what happened on 9/11 was "wrong".
"What do you want me to say?" he said he told the officer. "If I had the opportunity for those lives come back then I would make those lives come back."
Qureshi, who has been criticised after suggesting MI5 harassment could have contributed to the radicalisation of Emwazi, told the BBC: "All we are asking for is a little bit of accountability. What we want to see is that our security agencies don't operate in a way that actually drives people away from feeling like they have a role to play in this society."
Qureshi said Cage was "horrified" by Islamic State's killings and insisted his comments were "not about sticking up for" Emwazi.