A 20-year-old from Oxford has been identified as the first white British man to join the Islamic State (Isis) in Syria. Jack Letts or Jihadi Jack, a former Cherwell School student and son of a prominent organic farmer had left home in 2014 and told his parents that he was headed to Kuwait to study Arabic.
Reports suggest that before leaving for the Middle East, Letts had made contact with an Isis recruiter on social media. He allegedly travelled straight to Syria when he was 18 years old. While in the UK, Letts had converted to Islam and changed his name to Ibrahim. However, he is now known as Abu Muhammed.
Letts was an atheist, although he was christened as a child. He used to drink beer and occasionally smoke cannabis, his friends from school said. He was interested in sports and was a Liverpool fan. One of his friends described him as the "class clown", who was "well-liked by his peers".
"He [Letts] was liked by a lot of the students. That's why this whole thing of him going to live in Syria and join Isis doesn't make any sense," a friend was quoted as saying.
According to The Daily Mail, Letts is now a front-line fighter for IS (Daesh) in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. He lives with his wife – an Iraqi woman – and son Muhammed. Previously, he lived in Raqqa, Syria.
The 20-year-old had started learning Arabic and attended the Madina Masjid near his home in Oxford. His friends claimed that the mosque had nothing to do with his radicalisation, but it was private prayer meetings, where he was radicalised.
"His mother and father were extremely worried for his safety after he told them that he was in Syria," a source close to the family told The Sunday Times. "The past two years have been a real nightmare for them. They just wish he can be back home with them," the source added.