UK close to identifying jihadist who murdered the American Christian photojournalist, James Foley


Date:  2014-08-24

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LONDON, UK (ANS) -- The UK is close to identifying a suspected British jihadist from the footage of the killing of American Christian photojournalist, James Foley, the British ambassador to the US has said.

UK is close to identifying jihadist who murdered the American Christian photojournalist,
James Foley

The Islamic State (IS) militant with an English accent appears in the extremist group's video of the brutal killing of American journalist James Foley, 40, who was seized in Syria in 2013.

"I do know from my colleagues at home that we are close," Sir Peter Westmacott told CNN's State of the Union show.

The BBC is reporting, however, that both the British Foreign Office and Home Office have refused to comment on the remarks.

"We do not comment on security matters," said spokesperson for the Foreign & Commonwealth (FCO) office in London.

Westmacott said: "We're not far away from that [finding Foley's killer]. We're putting a lot into it."

He stated that some "very sophisticated" voice recognition technology was being used in the hunt, which is being led by the FBI.

"I can't say more than this at the moment, but I do know from my colleagues at home that we are close," he added.

Islamic State terrorists on the rampage

Referring to the 500-plus British citizens who are thought to have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight in the past few years, Mr. Westmacott said: "It goes beyond one horrendous criminal... It's a betrayal of all our values."

His comments came after UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond wrote in London's Sunday Times, that the [British] government was investing "significant resources" to tackle "a barbaric ideology."

Mr. Hammond also warned the threat from conflicts in Syria and Iraq could last a generation.

Downing Street [The Prime Minister's office] earlier announced the appointment of a new security convoy to Iraq.

Lt. Gen. Sir Simon Mayall, the government's senior defense advisor for the Middle East, will travel to the country next week to meet political leaders.

The BBC stated that a spokesman for the Prime Minister's office at 10 Downing Street in London, said that work is also under way to supply "non-lethal equipment" to Kurdish forces who are battling I S, including night vision equipment and body armor.

British Home Secretary Theresa May has said the government is looking at new powers to tackle the threat of extremism in Britain.

But shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper called for a stronger domestic response.

"More must be done to stop British citizens joining the barbarism and to keep the country safe if they return," she wrote in the Sunday Times.

She called for more action "to disrupt the travel plans of those planning go out to fight through better monitoring of the borders' watch list as well as access to passports."

The BBC reported that the Home Office insisted it would take the "strongest possible action" against people travelling to fight in Iraq and Syria.

A spokesman said: "The police, security services, and Border Force are actively working to identify, detect, and disrupt terrorist threats, including from British fighters attempting to return to the UK.

"They use a wide range of power s including those which allow them to detain and interview individuals at the UK border suspected of being involved in terrorism."

James Foley was a Christian

James Foley in action with his camera

Human rights campaigner, Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) said last week that James Foley was a Christian.

"Foley had publicly expressed his Christian faith," said Sekulow. "After a previous period of captivity in Libya, he wrote an open letter to the community of his alma matter, Marquette University, expressing how prayer got him through his time in captivity."

Sekulow said that Foley wrote about how he and his fellow captives prayed together, saying, "I prayed [my mom would] know I was OK. I prayed I could communicate through some cosmic reach of the universe to her. Clare [a fellow captive] and I prayed together out loud. It felt energizing to speak our weaknesses and hopes together, as if in a conversation with God, rather than silently and alone."

He describe the group as "the most brutally horrific terrorist army we have ever known. They are targeting Christians for slaughter in Iraq. They have already turned their sights on America saying, 'We will drown all of you in blood.' Now they've beheaded an American Christian journalist to make a point."

Why is Britain a Breeding Ground for IS Terrorists?

Alastair Jamieson writing for NBC NEWS, said, "The voice of an apparent British militant narrating the video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley has triggered renewed questions about why the U.K. is a breeding ground for jihadis.

It is estimated that some 500 Britons are among the estimated 2,000 Europeans "who are fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), according to Prime Minister David Cameron," he said. "And the ease with which Europeans can travel into Syria through Turkey has alarmed intelligence officials in the West."

Jamieson said that on Thursday, NBC News reported that three militants with British accents had been dubbed "The Beatles" by hostages taken in Syria. A person close to several recent hostage negotiations said "The Beatles" were harsher than other guards. < /p>

"Whenever 'The Beatles' showed up, there was some kind of physical beating or torture," the source added.

Militant British Muslims demonstrate outside Downing Street in London

He reported that Britain has a "deeply entrenched problem," according to the Quillam Foundation, an anti-extremist think tank. "London historically has had Islamist ideology being taught openly without being challenged and there are many people who have grown up knowing and believing that the only way to be Muslims is to create this Islamic state," said Harris Rafiq, Quilliam's head of outreach. "It's not surprising that jihadis have been able to cherry-pick these people."

Jamieson went on to say, "The true number of British jihadis could be even higher. Khalid Mahmood, a U.K. parliament lawmaker from Birmingham, England, estimates that at least 1,500 Brits have been recruited by extremists fighting in Iraq and Syria over the last three years - more than double the number of Muslims currently serving in the U.K. military.

However, he said, the numbers are inevitably higher in European nations with large Muslim populations.

"When you look at the raw numbers, it's not the best way to get a sense of how deep the problem is," said Shiraz Maher, senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization at London's King's College. "What we've done is to wade through the numbers of foreign fighters in relations to the Muslim population of those countries. When you do it like that, Belgium is actually way off the chart. But the Scandinavian countries feature very highly, and Britain as well."

"A Poison, a Cancer"

"Britain's problem with radicalized Muslims - described by Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond as 'a poison, a cancer' - is made acute chiefly because of its role as the biggest global ally of the United States in the tarnished invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

"As the same time, English is gaining traction as the language of choice for recruitment videos and other online propaganda because it has greater viral potential on social media."

"It's no coincidence that the [Foley beheading] video was in English," said Ghaffar Hussain, managing directo r of Quillam. "If the West, particularly America, is where you are trying to get your message heard, it makes sense."

Social media is a powerful tool, especially for recruiting young male Muslims, according to Hussain. "The violent messages appeal to the macho element and the sense of going to join a fight," he said, citing the recent case of Muhammad Hamidur Rahman, a 25-year-old killed while fighting in Syria after quitting his job at a British branch of fashion chain Primark. "One minute you're working as a shop assistant, next minute you're on the front line with a gun. It's an attractive idea for many."

He said that Quilliam's Harris fears the problem could come home to roost, saying he would be horrified if an attack on London occurred - "but I would not be surprised."

Jamieson concluded by saying that IS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, "wants to make a statement he is a bigger terrorist, a bigger jihadi, a bigger figure than Osama Bin Laden was, and he has got to try to undertake an attack on the West."

Note: Michele Neubert and Sarah Burke of NBC News contributed to the second part of this report.    

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