The terrorist who appeared in the latest Daesh (Islamic State) video threatening attacks on the UK is believed to be a British Indian convert.
Though the masked militant who was shown directing the killing of five men in a Daesh propaganda video has not been officially identified, media in the UK have named him as Siddhartha Dhar, also known as Abu Rumaysah. He had skipped bail and left Britain in 2014 with his wife and their four children to join the terror outlet in Syria.
Born a Hindu, the 32-year-old ran a business renting out bouncy castles in east London before converting to Islam and joining the banned radical extremist group Al Muhajiroun.
An official source told the BBC that Dhar is the focus of investigation into the video, which purports to show the killing of five men Daesh says were spying for the UK.
Dhar’s mother and sister have also watched the video, released by Daesh last Sunday (3). They noticed similarities between the voice of the masked terrorist, being referred to as the “new Jihadi John” by the British media.
“I heard the voice, yes, but I don’t know, I’m not sure of the voice. These are the most difficult questions to answer. I just cannot say. I’m not sure within myself,” his mother Sobita Dhar told The Daily Telegraph.
His sister, Konika Dhar, from north London, said: “I believed the audio to resemble, from what I remember, the voice of my brother but having viewed the short clip in detail, I wasn’t entirely convinced which put me at ease.
“I can’t believe it. This is just so shocking for me. I don’t know what the authorities are doing to confirm the identity, but I need to know if it is,” she added.
She said her brother had converted to Islam more than 10 years ago and her memories of him are from when they were children and teenagers.
“He was a very pleasant boy, and I know it may be hard to believe but he still is. I still believe that he still can be that person,” she added.
One of Dhar’s former business associates told the BBC he had “no doubt” the voice on the video was that of Dhar, who had been arrested on suspicion of encouraging terrorism by the British police but was jumped bail to travel to Syria.
His former neighbours from Walthamstow in east London claimed Dhar’s wife was more devout than him. There are suggestions that she may have put him on the path to extremism.
In the months leading up to his arrest, Dhar was accused of calling for the imposition of Sharia law in Britain.
In one interview around that time he said: “We believe that whenever the sharia is established, the pure Islamic state maybe in Iraq or Syria, one day the leader will wage jihad and annexe Britain into the Islamic state.
“We are not going to forget Europe, we are not going to forget Britain, the armies will be sent here to conquer these lands.”
In the latest Daesh video, he is believed to be the masked man speaking in a British accent and holding a gun.
He says: “We will continue to wage jihad, break borders and one day invade your land where we will rule by the Sharia.”
Prime minister David Cameron on Monday (4) said the video was “desperate stuff” from a group that was “losing territory”.
The 11-minute video also features a young boy speaking in a British accent.
A number of media outlets have reported that a south London man named Sunday Dare recognised the boy in the video as his grandson, Isa Dare. The child is believed to have been taken to Syria by his daughter Grace Dare, aka Khadija.
In the video, five men, wearing jumpsuits and kneeling in a desert location, appear to be shot in the back of the head, after making what is claimed to be their confessions about being spies.
In November, British officials said that up to 800 Britons had travelled to Iraq and Syria, some to join Daesh. About 50 per cent had returned home, while about 70 were believed to have been killed.