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Family of Jack Letts scorn suggestion he has joined Islamic State

Published 25/01/2016

Jack Letts converted to Islam after becoming interested in the Arab Spring
Jack Letts converted to Islam after becoming interested in the Arab Spring

The family of a young Briton thought to have travelled to Syria and joined Islamic State (IS) have condemned the suggestion as "absolutely ridiculous".

Jack Letts, 20, from Oxford, is suspected of being the first white Briton to join the terror group after he left his Oxford home and travelled to the war-ravaged country last year.

Letts, who has been dubbed Jihadi Jack, is reported to have married an Iraqi woman with whom he has a son, Muhammed, and be living in the Iraqi city of Fallujah.

But his mother defended him against accusations of being a terrorist, saying he was in Syria doing humanitarian work and they are in regular contact.

Ms Lane, a former books editor, told the Evening Standard: "He is not a member of IS, he is very probably not the first white convert that has gone out there. He does not have a son and is not known as Abu Mohammed.

"We spoke to him yesterday and he said he had never had a weapon in his life. He went out there for humanitarian purposes to help kids in Syrian refugee camps."

She added: "All this is absolutely ridiculous, it is shocking."

Letts went to Cherwell School in Oxford, the newspaper reported, and was keen on sports before taking becoming interested in the Middle East in 2011 during the Arab Spring uprisings and converting to Islam.

He later told his mother and father John Letts, a leading organic farmer and baker, he was planning to go to Kuwait to study Arabic and left the UK last year, but instead went to Syria.

His sudden move left the family shocked, but Ms Lane said he initially worked with refugees, has helped in a hospital and has "integrated with the population".

She also said the had repeatedly denied not being with IS, the Standard reported, saying: "He believes it is un-Islamic to lie and if he does he will go straight to hell, so there is no doubt whatsoever."

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