The campaign group CAGE reportedly defended Jihadi John, who was revealed to be Briton Mohammed Emwazi, right before images surfaced showing members of ISIS blindfolding and then killing four men they suspected were spies.
While speaking at a press conference at the pan-Islamic Hizb ut-Tahrir movement rally, CAGE leader Asim Qureshi reportedly blamed MI5 for radicalizing Emwazi and called the young man a "beautiful" person who "wouldn't hurt a fly," reports the Daily Mail.
Emwazi's identity was revealed after the Londoner appeared and spoke in several ISIS videos alongside victims that included U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. The University of Westminster graduate, who earned a degree in computer programming and moved to his native Kuwait to work in IT, was reportedly placed on Great Britain's terror watch list years before he joined the Islamic State, reports Opposing Views.
At the time, Emwazi claimed he was being harassed by MI5 and reportedly turned to CAGE to express his concerns. Qureshi called him a "humble" person and said he found it dificult to believe Emwazi and Jihadi John were the same person, reports the Independent. He also made it clear that, if there was any connection, MI5 and Great Britain's post-9/11 domestic security policies were to blame.
"When are we going to finally learn that when we treat people as if they're outsiders they are going to feel like outsiders and they will look for belonging elsewhere?" Qureshi asked.
The images of four "spies" dressed in orange jumpsuits and kneeling before four members of ISIS emerged just hours after Qureshi's statement. The men were reportedly executed after being accused of spying for the Baghdad government. There is no proof that Emwazi was among the ISIS members involved in these killings, but authorities believe he is behind the taped murders of at least five other victims.