“John,” who was named by US and UK media this week as Kuwaiti-born Mohammed Emwazi, gained infamy after appearing in several Islamic State videos showing him beheading a number of Western journalists and humanitarians and threatening Western leaders.
The photo dates back to Emwazi’s days at the University of Westminster where he studied information systems with business management from 2006 to 2009, according to new details released on Thursday.
The newly published picture shows the West London resident sporting a goatee and a fitted hat from the American Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team.
Steven Sotloff next to his Islamic State captor, ‘Jihadi John,’ in a video released Tuesday, 
September 2, 2014.

During his time at university, Emwazi was considered a model student and was two modules short of obtaining his degree, according to a report by the Daily Mail. A spokesperson for the University of Westminister expressed disgust following the report that he attended the London-area school.
“A Mohammed Emwazi left the university six years ago. If these allegations are true, we are shocked and sickened by the news. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families,” the spokesperson said. “We have students from 150 countries and their safety is of paramount concern. With other universities in London, we are working to implement the government’s Prevent strategy to tackle extremism,” he added.
Emwazi was reportedly wanted by the authorities as early as 2011 after being suspected of supporting terrorism overseas and in the UK, according to the Daily Mail. MI5 allegedly tried to recruit him for espionage activities, but were unsuccessful in their attempts. British authorities also attempted to prevent Emwazi from leaving the country, however he is believed to have arrived in Syria in 2012.
Emwazi was born in Kuwait in 1988 and immigrated to the United Kingdom with his family when he was 6-years-old, eventually settling down in the mixed-income neighborhood of Queens Park in West London. His university was described as a “hotbed of radicalism” that had a contingency of extremist students who were claimed to have “celebrated” the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Before his reported infatuation with radicalism, he was described as a “kind” individual who thoroughly enjoyed soccer and followed his favorite team, Manchester United. “The Mohammed that I knew was extremely kind, extremely gentle, extremely soft-spoken, was the most humble young person that I knew,” said Asim Qureshi of CAGE, a London-based advocacy group that counsels Muslims in conflict with British intelligence services.

 
Emwazi first contacted CAGE in 2009, Qureshi said. He had traveled to Tanzania with two other men after leaving university, but was deported and questioned in Amsterdam by British and Dutch intelligence services, who suspected him of attempting to join al-Shabaab militants in Somalia.
The following year, Emwazi accused the British intelligence services of preventing him from traveling to Kuwait, where he planned to work and marry.
CAGE quoted an email Emwazi had sent saying, “I had a job waiting for me and marriage to get started. But now I feel like a prisoner, only not in a cage, in London.”
Qureshi accused British authorities of alienating and radicalizing young British Muslims with heavy-handed policies.
“When we treat people as if they are outsiders, they will inevitably feel like outsiders, and they will look for belonging elsewhere,” he said.
Shiraz Maher of the King’s College radicalization center said he was investigating whether Emwazi was among a group of young west Londoners who traveled to Syria in 2012 before he was publicly identified.
Many of them are now dead, including Mohammad el-Araj, Ibrahim al-Mazwagi and Choukri Ellekhlifi, Maher said.
Maher said it appears that Emwazi survived, and has become one of the most prominent members of the Islamic State group, a fighter whose confidence and Western accent are calculated to strike fear into viewers of the group’s grisly videos.
Maher said Emwazi’s background was similar to that of other British jihadis, and disproved the idea “that these guys are all impoverished, that they’re coming from deprived backgrounds.”
“They are by and large upwardly mobile people, well educated,” he said.
The daughter of British aid worker David Haines, who was killed in September in a video featuring Emwazi, told ITV News that identifying the masked man was “a good step.”
“But I think all the families will feel closure and relief once there’s a bullet between his eyes,” Bethany Haines said.
The Sotloff family of Florida, whose son Steven, a dual American-Israeli citizen and former student at the IDC in Herzliya, was executed on camera in September last year, said they felt “relieved” and “take comfort” after Emwazi’s identity was revealed, and hope he will be caught and sent to prison.
“We want to sit in a courtroom, watch him sentenced and see him sent to a super-max prison where he will spend the rest of his life in isolation,” family spokesman Barak Barfi told the BBC.