Moazzam Begg was given the chance today on Radio 4 to say that he did not support IS [Islamic State] but did not take it. Every time he was asked the question, he answered with a pre-prepared statement of his choice, very similar in fact to the usual politician, which he also says he is not. He was asked if he would like to see them stopped, and again the little word 'no' evaded him. Listening for the 20 minute interview I now realise why the government does not trust him, rather than condemning Alan Henning’s killers, me merely suggested that he might have been able to prevent it!
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that when he had been in Syria previously, he had been successful in helping to secure the release of hostages held by groups other than IS [Islamic State].
The well-spoken and articulate Begg said he was nothing more than an innocent teacher in Afghanistan, who was illegally abducted and cruelly tortured by the American military, both in Afghanistan and later at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba.
But Begg's account is starkly at odds with the signed statement he gave to FBI agents while held in Afghanistan after his capture in February 2002 in which US officials insist was not obtained under duress, Begg admits to having attended three separate al-Qa'eda terrorist training camps in Afghanistan where he learnt to fire AK-47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenades and use primitive explosive devices.
The interview this morning was a clear attack on his persecutors, however, to get his message across more strongly it might have been prudent to distance himself from IS [Islamic State] a little more clearly than he did.