This time last year this Melbourne boy was just another high-school kid, so how, one year later is he fighting for Islamic State?
He was a gifted maths student from Melbourne’s northern suburbs.
But now, at just 18-years of age he is a fully fledged member of Islamic State photographed brandishing rifles, and quoted as considering “martyrdom missions” with a suicide vest.
But how does it come to this? How does a young Australian boy named Jake end up being flashed around the world media as the “White Jihadi”? It is a question many are scrambling to answer as Fairfax Media expose the young 18-year old’s true identity.
He first came to light last year when several media outlets wrongly identified him as a British teenager and called him “Britain’s White Jihadi”.
But friends from high school recognised him – and he has now been identified as a young man named Jake – his surname has been withheld – who attended Craigieburn Secondary College’s CEAP Excel accelerated learning program- and was a maths genius.
Fairfax Media reports that he dropped out of high school mid-last year after converting to Islam and bought a one-way ticket to Istanbul.
He then travelled to Iraq and Syria. Jake converted to Islam when he was 16 – his family were unhappy about his decision – but is was one that he committed to attending two north suburban Melbourne mosques
A former friend told Fairfax Media Jake had “made his own choice and he believes it’s the right choice.
“He was not pushed into IS [Islamic State] and was not pushed into Islam. People can make their own decisions and this was one of his …he felt that it was right for him … He had done sufficient research to believe it was the right step in life,” the friend said.
“He was obviously a believer in Islam and wanted to fulfill what he believed was his duties to the religion.”