A former Oxford schoolboy has denied reports he has joined Isis in an exclusive interview with The Independent but labelled David Cameron an evil creature and described the US-led bombing of Syria as a diseased plot designed to kill off all Muslims one by one.
In his first interview since reports accused him of becoming the first white British man to travel to Syria and join the jihadist group, Jack Letts insists he has travelled to the so-called Islamic State to spread the word of Allah and help “take down” the government of Bashar al-Assad.
In the interview, conducted over messaging app Telegram, Mr Letts, who has been widely dubbed “Jihadi Jack”, confirms he is still in Syria and admits he will probably be put in prison if he tries to return to the UK.
He also calls on British people to convert to Islam and says David Cameron is “f not actually mentally ill… [then] an evil creature”.
“If Britain stopped bombing Muslims in Syria, the Muslims in Syria would stop attacking them… is that hard to understand?” he says.
The 20-year-old says Isis has been subjected to a “media frenzy”, insisting militants are not committing atrocities in Syria as bad as the US-led coalition, which has been bombing positions in the country for the past 18 months.
“The US-led coalition is a plan concocted in the diseased hearts and minds of some of Allah’s enemies,” he says.
“A plot with the intention of collecting sincere Muslims who believe in taking action for their religion in one place and then killing them off one by one.
“Despite the media frenzy surrounding them, I’ve never seen Isis kill Muslim kids. I have, however, seen the coalition do so.”
On Sunday, Mr Letts was named as having joined the jihadist group. The reports were accompanied by a picture of him seemingly giving the one-fingered salute many associate with Isis.
Mr Letts, who attended Cherwell School in Oxford, converted to Islam as a teenager and left his home more than a year ago. He was accused of admitting to his parents that he was with the group in September 2014.
He subsequently posted private messages to hisFacebook account – also seen by The Independent – in which he accused the press of telling lies about him because of his Islamic faith. His Facebook account appears to have since been suspended.
His parents, John and Sally Letts, an organic farmer and former books editor respectively, have described him as “kind, funny and gentle”, and said they feel “betrayed” by the media coverage of their son.
There is no way of corroborating the accuracy of Mr Letts’ claims.
In order to confirm his identity, The Independent asked Mr Letts to provide a sound recording of his voice, which was then verified with two unrelated people who know him. They both said it was Mr Letts’ voice.
While there is no indication Jack Letts was speaking while under duress during the interview, it has not been possible to verify for certain that his answers were given with no immediate influence from other parties.
Mr Letts’ parents have not responded to The Independent’s request for comment.
A full transcript of the interview is provided below.
What made you leave the UK? What was the deciding factor?
To come to Syria. To leave dar al kufr [the land of disbelievers].
Why are you out in Syria?
To spread the religion of Allah and to help Muslims. I can speak Arabic and English. That’s like my only skill. I’ve spent efforts to take down the Syrian government. That’s all I want to say
There have been reports in the UK that you’ve joined Isis, what do you make of that?
I’ve made a clear response to this already. If you’re gonna ask me questions, I’m not going to repeat something I’ve already addressed, Insha’Allah.
Have you joined Isis?
I’m not Isis, but I believe in the Sharia. I believe we should follow Islam how the first Muslims did.
I also think that whatever I say, the media will probably freestyle with it and make up more nicknames for me as a result of the void they have in their lives.
What do you think about Isis? Can you give us an insight into what’s going on Syria with Isis? They’ve recently released a video saying they’ll attack the UK – what are your thoughts on that?
I’m doing my own thing. I don’t focus that much on what Isis does. Also this may sound strange but this is genuinely the first time someone’s told me they threatened to attack the UK, which is probably a bit embarrassing, seeing as I’m in Syria and you’d expect I’d hear these things.
If Britain stopped bombing Muslims in Syria the Muslims in Syria would stop attacking them. Is that hard to understand?
What do you think of the treatment of Muslims in Syria?
The Muslims in Syria are burned alive, raped, abused, imprisoned and much more. I also think that some of Muslims I met here are living like walking mountains. Full of honour.
Who do you think is responsible?
I think a number of different people/nations are responsible. Bashaar and his buddies, Russia and their buddies etc. The media.
Do you think you’ll ever come back to Britain? Also – do you have a message to people in Britain?
They won’t let me come back without putting me in prison probably. I would like to make it clear that David Cameron, if not actually mentally ill, is an evil creature who failed to understand his own existence correctly.
With this foundation as his character, he ended up chatting rubbish and lying his way into power before taking out what, I expect, is built-up stress from being bullied for his forehead at school, on the rest of the world with the weapons his buddy America gave him.
My message for them is to embrace Islam. To think, well, did this universe come from nothing or did it create itself? To not be confused by the media or the fact that the Koran is in Arabic etc.
Islam is the same religion of all the prophets and Allah decided to send the final prophet in Makkah. Leave your worship of money, celebrities, and other filth and direct all worship to the one who truly deserves it.
I hope like this you will realise why people sacrifice all they have for the religion of Mohamed (Peace be upon him). Learn the declaration of faith, understand it, say it sincerely and then act by it. That’s how you will succeed.
Can I ask if you agree with what Isis is doing? And if you have plans to join Isis? What are the aspects you agree with and disagree with?
I believe in ruling by the Sharia.
Can I ask you your thoughts towards the US-led coalition? And towards Isis?
I believe the US-led coalition is a plan concocted in the diseased hearts and minds of some of Allah’s enemies. A plot with the intention of collecting sincere Muslims who believe in taking action for their religion in one place and then killing them off one by one.
It’s fuelled by their hatred for the truth and their sickening world view that even non-Muslims hate them for. of course, I differ with any one of my Muslim brothers who makes a mistake with regards to his mistake, and they remain my brother as long as they don’t commit disbelief. Regardless of who they are.
But I believe the US and her bedfellows use things like Isis to alienate their enemies and dehumanise the brothers and sisters they present to their dead-hearted pilots as target practice, which, I suppose, leads us back to their hatred of Islam and the Muslims.
I’ve seen Muslims burned alive as a result of what the US calls ‘hellfire missiles’. I’ve seen the little girls that lived around the corner from me at my old house hide from American jets and plugging their ears from the sound.
Isis has huge mistakes, I don’t deny that, but the coalition has far worse mistakes. As a separate point, despite the media frenzy surrounding them, I’ve never seen Isis kill Muslim kids. I have, however, seen the coalition do so.