Isis video: Is former Londoner and Anjem Choudary supporter Siddartha Dhar the masked militant and ‘new Jihadi John’?

Some who met Dhar face to face before the extremist fled Britain says his voice is similar to that of the masked militant

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The Independent Online

With British officials racing to identify the militant making threats to the UK in a new video released by Isis, speculation grows that the man behind the mask is already well-known to the security services.

According to a number of people who interviewed him in person while he was still in Britain, the militant could be Siddartha Dhar, a father-of-four who skipped bail while under investigation by Scotland Yard to flee to Syria in 2014.

Dhar, who converted to Islam from Hinduism and later changed his name to Abu Rumaysah, has previously posted images to social media from Syria, posing with his new-born baby and wielding an assault rifle.

Documentary maker Mojtaba Ali, who sat down for a face-to-face interview with Dhar in 2014 shortly before he was arrested, said the “new Jihadi John seems to be Abu Rumaysah”.

Abu Rumaysah appears as a talking head throughout a 20-minute programme for Aljazeera - at one point being identified simply as 'a British Muslim'

VICE News, which also interviewed Dhar in 2014, carried an article reporting that the “voice and speech pattern” of the masked man in Isis’s new execution video “sounds similar” to the British national.

The Mail Online quoted Dhar’s sister, Konika Dhar, as saying his voice sounded “just like” that of her brother, while RUSI security analyst Rafaello Pantucci also raised the possibility that the two “sound very similar”.

Rumaysah is interviewed extensively on BBC News in a debate on Islamic extremism

Before his arrest, Dhar was courted by a host of broadcast media, appearing on the BBC, Channel 4 News, CBS’s 60 Minutes and Al Jazeera to openly speak about his desire to live “in the Islamic State”.

He also spoke about his fledgling business as a former bouncy castle salesman, and his ties to the now-prohibited al-Muhajiroun group.

In Isis’s new video, the masked man rants against Britain and specifically David Cameron, referencing those who work “on minimum wage” who have been “abandoned” by their government.

After threatening to wage war on the UK, the man shoots a captive in the head, after which four other alleged spies are shot.

Not all analysts are convinced by the speculation surrounding Dhar – Charles Lister, formerly of the Brookings Institute in Doha, said he thinks there are “subtle differences and pronunciations” in their voice patterns.

Scotland Yard, which still has a case open on Dhar, told The Independent it was following developments regarding the Isis video but could provide no confirmation either way on the identity of the masked militant.

Downing Street has rejected the video as a “propaganda tool”, but said the portrayal of yet another mass execution shows “what an appalling organisation we are up against”.