Recently the true identity of the man who has appeared in several gruesome videos of executions of hostages released by the terrorist group Islamic State has been discovered. Previously known as "Jihadi John", due to his noticeable British accent when he spoke on camera he is now known to be called Mohammed Emwazi.
Born in Kuwait in 1988, he came to the UK at the age of 6 where he is said to have been educated at the Quintin Kynaston Community Academy in North London before graduating from the University of Westminster with a degree in computing in 2009. Emwazi did in fact come to the attention of the British intelligence agency MI5, as well as other intelligence bodies who reportedly monitored suspected extremists that had been linked to fighters joining the terrorist group al-Shabab who operate in Somalia.
It is believed that Emwazi moved to the Middle East in order to fight against the West. He blames MI5 for the breakdown of his relationship with his girlfriend, due to the intelligence agency supposedly harassing him. He is featured in no fewer than 7 videos released by IS, many of which depict the apparent beheading of British, Japanese and American hostages.
But the problem of people leaving their country of residence to fight for extremist groups is far larger than one man. One other high profile example is the case of three young girls who left their families without their knowledge to travel across a continent to fight for the terrorist group. The current amount of foreign fighters in Syria is between 11,000 and 12,000, according to the Soufan Group and the Centre for the Study of Radicalization. Approximately 25% of this figure is thought to originate from the West, with most of the remainder coming from Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
It remains important to remember though that the disgusting acts carried out by these extremists in the name of Islam do not at all represent the entirety of the 1.5 Billion Muslims around the world, the vast majority of who are moderate believers who would doubtless condemn the appalling actions of a tiny minority.