In Depth

Islamic State ‘Beatle’ backs slavery, disagrees with traffic tickets

Captured jihadi El Shafee Elsheikh tells reporter ‘I would do it all again’

El Shafee Elsheikh

A British Islamic State fighter who was one of the so-called ‘Beatles’ has defended the terror group’s atrocities in a chilling interview.

El Shafee Elsheikh, 29, was “detached and hostile” during the interview, refusing to make eye contact and repeatedly declining to answer questions. He told Al Aan reporter Jenan Moussa that he had no regrets about his time in Syria.

Elsheikh is accused of participating in torture and murder as one of the so-called “Beatles”, four British IS fighters given their nickname by captives who heard their English accents.

“The brutal group held more than 20 Western hostages – and beheaded seven American, British and Japanese journalists and aid workers and a group of Syrian soldiers,” says the Daily Mail. Their victims include British aid workers David Haines and Alan Hemming, and US journalist James Foley.

Gruesome videos purporting to show these atrocities were distributed online, adding to the group’s notoriety.

Elsheikh, who was born in Sudan but grew up in west London, denied that he had participated in torture or beheadings and said that he did not watch the videos.

However, he defended Islamic State’s use of Yazidi women as sex slaves, which he said was justified in Islamic scripture. “I do not denounce slavery,” he said.

Asked if he disagreed with any of the terror group’s actions, he said: “Traffic tickets and other such things that have no place in the law of Allah.”

Asked about their “Beatles” nickname, Elsheikh said he did not listen to music, which is considered “haram” (forbidden) by some conservative sects of Islam. However, he added: “'I don't think John Lennon would like it much.”

Off-camera, Moussa said, he bragged:“I would do it all over again.”

The journalist tweeted afterwards that she was “struck” by Elsheikh’s lack of remorse, as well as his hypocritical attitude towards the West.

Elsheikh and Kotey, who have been stripped of their British citizenship, are being held in Kobane, Syria by Syrian Democratic Forces while the UK government and international allies decide where they will face trial.

The group’s ringleader, Mohammed Emwazi - nicknamed Jihadi John - was killed in November 2015 by a US drone strike. The fourth member, “Paul” - real name Aine Lesley Davis - is serving a seven and a half year prison sentence in Turkey for terror offences.

Recommended

Quiz of The Week: 9 - 15 October
Ambulances outside a hospital during third national lockdown
Quizzes and puzzles

Quiz of The Week: 9 - 15 October

Former nurse says NHS made her ‘fart against her will’
A nurse
Tall Tales

Former nurse says NHS made her ‘fart against her will’

‘Queen’s green anger’
Today's newspaper front pages
Today’s newspapers

‘Queen’s green anger’

The Pandora Papers: will the war on tax dodgers ever end?
Pandora Papers seen on a screen
Between the lines

The Pandora Papers: will the war on tax dodgers ever end?

Popular articles

Why a ‘super-cold’ is spreading
flu_sneeze.jpg
Getting to grips with . . .

Why a ‘super-cold’ is spreading

Former nurse says NHS made her ‘fart against her will’
A nurse
Tall Tales

Former nurse says NHS made her ‘fart against her will’

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 13 October 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 13 October 2021

The Week Footer Banner