But the Letts family has criticised the reports, with relative telling The Telegraph that “95 per cent of what has been published is incorrect, it is desperately wrong.”
The family member alleged that Letts was being targeted by the “right-wing” press.
The original report claims that Letts travelled to Syria under false pretenses when he was 18, having told his family he had travelled to Kuwait to learn Arabic.
Letts apparently converted to Islam while living in Oxford, and attended the Madina Masjid mosque in the city. (His radicalisation reportedly took place at private prayer groups, not the mosque.)
He comes from a non-Islamic background: His family is reportedly secular, his father working as an organic farmer and “archaeobotanist,” and his mother as a book editor. He studied at Cherwell school, supported Liverpool Football Club, and allegedly drank alcohol and smoked cannabis before his conversion.
Business Insider has been unable to verify Letts’ alleged extremist links.
Letts was reportedly nicknamed “Jihadi Jack” by his friends in Oxford.
The moniker mirrors “Jihadi John,” a high-profile British Islamic State militant. The former Londoner, really named Mohammed Emwazi, became infamous after appearing in ISIS execution videos of Western journalists and aid workers including James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Emwazi was killed in a drone strike in November 2015.
Jack Letts now apparently uses the name Abu Muhammed, and married a woman from Fallujah in Iraq after he came to Syria. The Daily Mail reported he has a son named Muhammed and that he is a frontline fighter, living in the Syrian city Raqqa.
An unnamed “close family member” spoke to The Telegraph about the reports.
They said that “There has been an avalanche of misinformation. We don’t want to comment on all of this, but what I will say is that 95 per cent of what has been published is incorrect, it is desperately wrong. The only truth is that Jack is a Muslim and he is overseas. But everything else is made up and it is just getting worse.”
They added that the “right-wing media” is “interested in a snappy line like ‘Jihadi Jack’ and ‘Jihadi John’ that rolls off the tongue, but it is all wrong.”
In one photo shared on social media, Letts wears combat-style clothes and poses in front of what appears to be the Tabqa Dam in Syria (see above). Another shows a smoke cloud from an apparent explosion seen from a roof in what seems to be a Middle Eastern setting. Letts denied it was near him in comment from May 2015, saying he is “travelling.”
According to The Sunday Times, Letts revealed to his parents that he had secretly travelled to Syria in September 2014. A source to “close to his family” told the paper: “His mother and father were extremely worried for his safety after he told them that he was in Syria. The past two years have been a real nightmare for them. They just wish he can be back home with them.”
A Muslim neighbour told The Daily Mail:
One day I came out of my house and I saw him sat on the pavement, in the cold. I approached him and asked what was wrong. He told me he had forgotten a key and could not enter his house, so I invited him in and made him a cup of tea and gave him some biscuits.
When we were inside, he suddenly asked me, “can I pray?” I told him that he could of course pray, but it was unusual because his family were not Muslim.
As we were talking, he said to me, ‘I am going to Saudi Arabia after school. I want to go there to further my education.
This made me very worried. He told me he had started visiting a Wahhabi mosque. I believe he started going there with his classmates and I knew this could be bad as Wahhabi is not Islam, it is very bad.
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