'I feel like my son is on a railway track blindfolded and I can't do anything about it': Father of Jihadi Jack's anguish as he denies his son has joined ISIS

The distraught father of British Muslim convert 'Jihadi Jack' has denied his son has joined ISIS and claimed: 'I feel like my son is on a railway track blindfolded and I can't do anything about it'.
Jack Letts, 20, left the UK in September 2014 when he was just aged 18, sparking fears that he may have fled to join ISIS in Syria.
His story hit headlines this week and garnered a mass of speculation that he had become a frontline fighter for the terror organisation and had settled in Fallujah, Iraq, with a wife and child. He is now said to go by the name Ibrahim or Abu Muhammed.
Today, his shocked parents spoke for their first time – breaking their two-year silence - about their anguish that he had been linked to ISIS, and claimed he had fled for humanitarian reasons.
British convert Jack Letts, who goes by the name Ibrahim or Abu Muhammed, is living in Iraq after fleeing the UK when he was 18. His parents today spoke for the first time in two years to deny claims he has joined ISIS
British convert Jack Letts, who goes by the name Ibrahim or Abu Muhammed, is living in Iraq after fleeing the UK when he was 18. His parents today spoke for the first time in two years to deny claims he has joined ISIS
'Jihadi Jack's' parents John Letts (pictured) and Sally Lane, said they monitor Jack's social media accounts 'every day' and described their ordeal as a 'nightmare', denying he has fled Britain to join ISIS
Mr Letts added: 'I feel like my son is walking on a railway track, blindfolded, and there's a train coming and he can't hear me, like I can't do anything about it'
'Jihadi Jack's' parents John Letts (right) and Sally Lane (together left), said they monitor Jack's social media accounts 'every day' and described their ordeal as a 'nightmare', denying he has fled Britain to join ISIS
Speaking from their home in Oxford, father John Letts and his wife, Sally Lane, said they monitor Jack's social media accounts 'every day' and described their ordeal as a 'nightmare'.
They added that they felt 'betrayed' by the media and condemned the nickname 'Jihadi Jack' given to their son.
'The things that have been written about him are completely false,' the couple said.
'The police and security services say they have no evidence he has done anything wrong.
'We monitor Jack's social media accounts every single day and he has never posted photographs of weapons.
'He is a really kind, funny kid who is very gentle. He is totally non-violent and was only motivated by one thing: every day, on the television and computer screens, there were constant pictures of Syria and the hundreds of dying and starving or being bombed by Assad.
'Jack was totally disturbed by that. He is a very humane person and he wanted to do something to help.
'We last saw him just under two years ago and we have been living in hell ever since. Now we just want him to come home but failing that we want him in a safe country.'
Mr Letts added: 'I feel like my son is walking on a railway track, blindfolded, and there's a train coming and he can't hear me, like I can't do anything about it.
'It has been a nightmare.'
'Jihadi Jack'  lives with his Iraqi wife and their son Muhammed after moving to the city of Fallujah from Raqqa. It is a far cry from his comfortable upbringing at the hands of Canadian father, John, an organic farmer and archaeobotanist and his mother, Sally, a books editor, at their Oxford home in Chilswell Road (pictured above)
'Jihadi Jack' lives with his Iraqi wife and their son Muhammed after moving to the city of Fallujah from Raqqa. It is a far cry from his comfortable upbringing at the hands of Canadian father, John, an organic farmer and archaeobotanist and his mother, Sally, a books editor, at their Oxford home in Chilswell Road (pictured above)
The transition from Oxford schoolboy to ISIS jihadist has shocked his old friends from school, some of whom have nicknamed him 'Jihadi Jack'. He s pictured above with friends from school before he fled the UK
The transition from Oxford schoolboy to ISIS jihadist has shocked his old friends from school, some of whom have nicknamed him 'Jihadi Jack'. He s pictured above with friends from school before he fled the UK
Jack grew up in Oxford and lived in a red-brick terraced house on a narrow street in the centre of the city.
The Liverpool supporter attended Cherwell School in the city and played for a local football team when he was a child.
It was reported yesterday that he had travelled to Kuwait in the summer of 2014, aged 18, to learn Arabic before travelling to Syria.
His father, an archaeological botanist and miller who bakes and sells his own bread on his doorstep, said his son became interested in Islam at the age of 16 and wanted to become 'the best Muslim possible.'
Three months after leaving to study in Kuwait, Jack travelled to war-torn Syria where his family believe he may be working in hospitals or as a translator.
'He said he wanted to help in refugee camps and so I said, 'you'll be useless unless you learn Arabic',' his father continued.
'So he said, 'okay, I'm going to learn Arabic.'
'As a parent, what can you do? Lock your child in their bedroom? What we tried to do was positively channel his interests.
'Jack is a clever kid. He was reading a lot and believed he had to consider all the different opinions before making one himself. We were both raised as Christians but we are a secular household. We didn't oppose his conversion.
'We live in a democracy and if he wants to believe something and he is not hurting anyone else then that is fine. That is how he was raised.'
Expert: John Letts - the father of 'Jihadi Jack' is seen on Countryfile with presenter Matt Baker (left)
Expert: John Letts - the father of 'Jihadi Jack' is seen on Countryfile with presenter Matt Baker (left)
Before he converted to Islam, Jack (left) drank alcohol and occasionally smoked cannabis with his friends
Before he converted to Islam, Jack (left) drank alcohol and occasionally smoked cannabis with his friends
Yesterday, a close member of the family, criticised the media for publishing an 'avalanche of misinformation' that led to his son's interest being brought into question.
Jack's mother Sally, a former books editor, angrily defended their son today.
'He is not a member of ISIS, 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 Muhammad.
'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.
'All this is absolutely ridiculous, it is shocking.'
The family said that, despite being hugely concerned for Jack's wellbeing, they knew exactly where he is in Syria but asked for the location not to be published for the sake of his safety.
'We are worried sick. He is in danger every single moment of the day,' she said.
'He is very naive and misguided. He wanted to do good in the world and wanted to see for himself.
'The fact is he did not see the danger or think about his own safety.
'We wake every single morning not knowing whether he is alive or dead.'
The family said that Jack himself had criticised the media reports about him, writing on Facebook that the papers 'got bored worrying about what colour socks certain celebrities wear and took out their frustration on me.'
It came after friends yesterday described Jack as a 'class clown' who converted to Islam after being egged on by his Muslim classmates.
Now 'Jihadi Jack', 20, claims he is a frontline fighter for the brutal jihadi group and lives with his Iraqi wife and his son Muhammed in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. He is pictured above at home in Iraq
Now 'Jihadi Jack', 20, claims he is a frontline fighter for the brutal jihadi group and lives with his Iraqi wife and his son Muhammed in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. He is pictured above at home in Iraq
The Oxford born extremist posted this photograph online, telling a friend he was 'travelling' in May last year
The Oxford born extremist posted this photograph online, telling a friend he was 'travelling' in May last year
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, one friend - who asked to remain anonymous - said: 'I feel like he has been exploited. No one wants to fight in ISIS unless they've been brainwashed. It's really alarming how powerfully he has changed.
'He was always an atheist, pretty liberal, typical middle class kid. At school he was the class clown but didn't take it too far, he was still smart and got fair grades.
'Then he started befriending a group of Muslim boys at the school and that exposed him to Islam. I noticed he started becoming very preachy and was using Arabic, which was strange because I only ever saw him as a typical Oxford boy.
'Then he started growing a beard, becoming more reserved, deleting his photos on Facebook, he sort of disappeared into a world where he only associated with like-minded people.
'His parents were always kind and nice, very loving and providing, they lived a good life and Jack had a good upbringing.
'He did talk passionately about ISIS, but I always assumed he meant he opposed them, not that he would join them.'
Jack Letts (circled, middle), who now goes by the name Ibrahim or Abu Muhammed, is living in Iraq after fleeing the UK when he was 18. Friends today said he was a 'class clown' who converted to Islam after being egged on by his Muslim classmates (pictured in 2012)
Jack Letts (circled, middle), who now goes by the name Ibrahim or Abu Muhammed, is living in Iraq after fleeing the UK when he was 18. Friends today said he was a 'class clown' who converted to Islam after being egged on by his Muslim classmates (pictured in 2012)
Jack's life as a jihadi is a far cry from his comfortable upbringing at the hands of Canadian father, John (pictured right), an organic farmer and archaeobotanist and his mother, Sally (pictured left), a books editor
Jack's life as a jihadi is a far cry from his comfortable upbringing at the hands of Canadian father, John (pictured right), an organic farmer and archaeobotanist and his mother, Sally (pictured left), a books editor
Before he converted to Islam, Jack drank alcohol and occasionally smoked cannabis with his friends. He was also a fan of graffiti art, specifically Banksy, friends said.
It is thought Letts began to take an interest in the Middle East during the Arab Spring in 2011. Prior to converting to Islam, he was an atheist and appeared to have little interest in religion despite being christened as a child.
He went to start learning Arabic and attended the Madina Masjid, a mosque near his home in Oxford, changing his name to Ibrahim - the Arabic version of his original middle name, Abraham.
Several of his friends have claimed that the 20-year-old was radicalised in a private prayer meetings and the mosque was not responsible for the hardening of his views.
One said: 'His conversion to Islam was slow but happened quickly when it did.'
In total, more than 750 Britons have left the UK to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Up to 100 of those have been killed. 


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3415865/I-feel-like-son-railway-track-blindfolded-t-Father-Jihadi-Jack-s-anguish-denies-son-joined-ISIS.html#ixzz3yHWpQvEV 
 

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