Article originally published 25/07/2016: due to a technical issue this article may have resurfaced for some readers, and the original publish date may not have been visible.
A middle-class Brit dubbed ‘Jihadi Jack’ after leaving his Oxford home to travel to Syria has revealed he misses kebabs and Krispy Kreme doughnuts - but that he will not be coming back to the UK.
Jack Letts, 20, converted to Islam and ran away to Syria two years’ ago and has since posted pictures of himself in combat clothing in the the war-torn country, and was reported to being the first white British male to join ISIS.
In an interview with Channel 4 News, Letts says he is not “currently” an ISIS fighter but believes that the UK Government would define him as a terrorist.
Asked whether he was missing life back at home in Oxford, he said:
“Not big things, small things like kebabs, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, but other than that not really.”
His parents, organic farmer John Letts and book editor Sally Lane, have been charged with terrorism offences after allegedly sending him money. They deny funding terrorism.
Letts says he came to Syria “searching for the truth” and peppered his speech with Arabic phrases. He insists he has no plans to return:
“No, I don’t plan on going back to England. I came back to England I don’t think I’d be very welcome.
“But I don’t plan on coming back anyway, Alhamdulillah. I don’t want to come back.”
He says he does not suffer from mental health issues as has been reported, such as OCD, and has not been brainwashed or radicalised. He admits his move was an “odd choice”.
“But it was a very good choice, alhamdulillah, because if I didn’t come here I wouldn’t have met some very good knowledgeable people.”
Asked if he’s a terrorist, Letts does not answer the question directly:
“Do you mean by the English Government’s definition, that anyone that opposes a non-Islamic system and man-made laws, then, of course, by that definition, I suppose they’d say I’m a terrorist, khalas.”
He dodges another question when asked if he is a fighter.
“Khalas, they’ll say what they want. Currently I’m not. But, khalas, they’ll say what they want.”
But he says he is not a member of ISIS.
“I’m not and nor do I agree with lot of what they follow.”
In a statement published online in Arabic, he criticises ISIS. It reads:
“I oppose so-called Islamic State, but that doesn’t mean I am with you, the dirty non-Muslims.”
Letts adds he survived an airstrike with just a “scratch” following bombardment from British, American, French and Russian forces in recent months. He is not afraid to die, he said.
“I’m not worried. Everyone is going to die on their day. Whether it’s by a drone strike. A Muslim understands that his life is between the hands of Allaah.
“So if they want to bomb me, they’ll bomb me.”
Lett’s parents were originally remanded in custody for five days in early June, but were later released on appeal. They are due to stand trial in January.
Asked about his parent’s ordeal, Letts called on them to convert to Islam.
“I call them to Islam, if they understand Islam they’d understand what they’re in and why what’s happened to them has happened.
“So inshallah, I hope that they follow the path of all of the Prophets.”
In another online statement, he said he “hated” his parents “for the sake of Allaah” because they are non-believers.