Mohammed Emwazi, also known as Jihadi John, who is accused of beheading Westerners in Syria for the Islamic State, is from an area populated with St. Lucians in London.
Thomas Pierre, a St. Lucian who has lived in the area since migrating from St. Lucia in 1959, said he is shocked to learn that the area that has been home to him for 56 years, is now a hotbed for extremism and fanatics.
The 79-year-old pensioner, who has just returned from St. Lucia, said he is also surprised to learn that Emwazi and his family lived only a few blocks away from him.
“I am only a stone’s throw from Lancefield road, where this young man lives, and where the media and police have set up camp. I see these Arab kids going up and down all the time and never thought anything of it,” said Pierre who hails from Anse La Raye. “Now to learn that the world’s most wanted terrorist is right under my nose, here in Queens Park is unbelievable. You could not make this up.”
Another St. Lucian, who was born in the area, said she was not at surprised at what is unfolding on her doorstep. Charwene James, 41, said the area has been neglected, and the youths have nothing to occupy their time.
“If you have nothing to do and someone offers you a way out you will take it,” said James, whose parents are from Canaries, in St. Lucia. “These young men are being radicalised in the name of religion and there is little their parents and the authorities can do about it.”
Emwazi was unmasked as the man behind the black face mask, with the knife, accused of killing Western hostages. Since his identity has been revealed, the metropolitan police have had to move his family from the area for their own protection.
“The St. Lucian community is very big around here and most of us are waking up to the fact that the world’s most wanted terrorist is living among us,” said Pierre, who is not planning to move to anywhere else. “Although this area has a reputation, this is all I have known ever since I came to this country, and I am not shifting.”