ISIS Beatle El Shafee Elsheikh jailed: From QPR footballer to ISIS terrorist, Explained

El Shafee Elsheikh, also known as “Jihadi Ringo,” was one of four ISIS hostage-takers with British accents who were nicknamed “The Beatles” due to their penchant for menacing punishments.

Who is ISIS Beatle El Shafee Elsheikh or Jihadi Ringo?

One of the most brutal members of the ISIS Beatles terror cell was a football-loving young man who grew up repairing motorcycles in an unassuming area of West London.

One of four top ISIS fighters with British accents known as the “60s Foursome” because of their seniority, El Shafee Elsheikh, 34, is reported to have taken pleasure in using excessive violence on his victims in Iraq and Syria.

After Elsheikh was sentenced to life in prison today by a Virginia court, a lawyer for the relatives of the victims dubbed the cell “real psychopaths without any moral value.”

Raj Parekh told reporters today that Elsheikh, also known as “Jihadi Ringo,” was especially cruel and continued to be “defiantly remorseless and unrepentant.”

He pointed out that the jihadist, unlike his co-defendant Alexanda Kotey, who he was discovered cowering with among legitimate refugees trying to flee Syria in 2018, had made no effort to meet the families of victims.

After Kotey was granted life in April, Elsheikh is the final member of the vicious squad to stand trial for the deaths of the US journalists and US and UK charity workers.

Why El Shafee Elsheikh jailed for life?

A US federal court has sentenced Londoner El Shafee Elsheikh, 34, to life in prison for his involvement in the hostage-taking plot carried out by the British Islamic terror group known as “The Beatles.” After being found guilty of taking part in the killing of American hostages in Syria, he was sentenced to life in prison.

In Alexandria District Court, Virginia, as family members of his victims listened to judge Thomas Selby Ellis give his verdict, the 34-year-old London-raised sheikh remained emotionless. Elsheikh received concurrent life sentences for all eight counts on which he was found guilty in April.

His actions were “horrific, savage, violent, and insensitive,” according to Judge Ellis. “The behaviour of this defendant and his co-conspirator can only be defined as horrible barbarous, violent, and callous,” Judge Ellis remarked in reference to the terrorist.

“This is a pivotal moment in the history of our nation and our legal system.” A few of the victims’ loved ones, including American journalist James Foley, testified in court.

Elsheikh’s mother, Diane Foley, said in her victim impact statement that it was the eighth anniversary of her son’s passing and that her son’s “hate overwhelmed your humanity.” She turned to him and stated, “This trial has exposed the heinous human rights abuses you committed while a member of Isis.”

Who are ISIS Beatles?

The Beatles first achieved notoriety by documenting the gruesome executions and posting them online.

Prosecutors said during Elsheikh’s April trial that he was the primary torturer and claimed that he and self-styled executioner Mohammed Emwazi, or “Jihadi John,” were the two who were the most brutal of the four.

Because the terror cell’s tactics were so harsh, according to sources, their supervisors temporarily suspended them because they were so feared in the so-called caliphate.

According to eyewitness accounts from those who were fortunate enough to escape, the men enjoyed electrocuting, beheading, and even crucifying one of their victims.

2014: “Whenever the Beatles showed in, there was some type of physical beating or torture,” a source told NBC.

Elsheikh, however, wasn’t always the ruthless warlord he later developed into.

Elsheikh was born to poet Rashid Sigahmed Elsheikh and mother Maha Elgizouli, both of whom were Communist Party members in their native Sudan who fled to the UK to avoid persecution during that nation’s brutal civil war. Elsheikh was raised in West London.

El Shafee Elsheik dream becoming QPR footballer

Elsheikh, like Kotey, grew up rooting for Queens Park Rangers and aspired to join the Shepherd’s Bush team as a child, the Daily Telegraph reported in 2018.

His mother hoped he would knuckle down and get the qualifications he needed to make a career out of engineering.  But it was not to be.


He grew up wearing western clothing, went by Shaf to friends and family, spent his teenage years in the Army Cadets, and loved going camping in the wilderness.

His life was ordinary when he graduated from high school, and he had not yet developed into the vicious thug he would later become.

Before he studied mechanical engineering at Acton College and landed a job working as a fairground technician, locals claimed to have seen him tinkering with motorcycles in the family’s front lawn.

Elsheikh was 19 years old when he got into a fight with a gang member and was stabbed multiple times. Elsheikh grew up in the same neighbourhood of London as fellow Islamic State “Beatles” Mohammed Emwazi and Alexanda Kotey.

Elsheikh didn’t start to slide downward until his adored older brother Khalid was detained on suspicion of murder, found not guilty, and then sentenced to ten years in prison for possessing a handgun in 2009.

Elsheikh’s parents divorced after his brother was imprisoned, and he started hanging out with the wrong crowd.

By 2011, he had begun to follow a more radical brand of Islam, and by the age of 21, he had wed a Canadian Muslim woman.

El Shafee Elsheikh marriage life

At the age of 21, Elsheikh wed an Ethiopian woman he had met while travelling to Toronto to see family.

However, the authorities forbade her from settling in Britain with her husband, leaving Elsheikh furious with the British government.

According to the Counter-Extremism Project, he met an Eritrean man two years later whose father had been involved in spreading Islamist propaganda.

According to reports, Elsheikh’s mother gave the two guys the go-ahead to avoid her son.

But he quickly became absorbed with recordings of an Islamist preacher from London.

He adjusted to a new way of acting in about three weeks. According to the CEP, he gave up wearing Western clothing and began wearing long robes in order to follow the extremist’s teachings.

El Shafee Elsheikh’s mom statement

His mother, who is devastated by his behaviour and capture, thinks the notorious Islamist preacher Hani al-Sibai, who hailed the 7/7 attacks in London as a “wonderful victory,” radicalised him.

She confronted him after discovering him watching Sibai’s videos and listening to one of his CDs.

Her formerly “perfect” son had evolved into a fundamentalist with a long beard, lengthy robes, and a distorted worldview despite her best efforts.

Elsheikh’s mother went to Sudan to consult with relatives after being so stunned by his abrupt radicalization.

When she returned by plane, he was scheduled to pick her up there. Instead, her younger son Mahmoud welcomed her and informed her that he had travelled to Syria.

ISIS Beatle El Shafee Elsheikh jailed for Life: Journey From QPR footballer to ISIS terrorist, Explained
ISIS Beatle El Shafee Elsheikh jailed for Life: Journey From QPR footballer to ISIS terrorist, Explained

Prior to joining Islamic State, Elsheikh initially joined a local Al Qaeda affiliate.

He went to fight for radical Islam but gained notoriety as a soldier but as a torturer.

Elsheikh, 33, caused controversy by filming the mock killings of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff while operating in Iraq and Syria. He was found guilty in April of hostage-taking and conspiracy to murder.

After denying eight accusations linked to the arrest, confinement, and murder, he is the last member of the group to face punishment.

Alexanda Kotey is already incarcerated, while Emwazi was murdered by a drone attack in 2015.

Also read

The US Justice Department does not consider Aine Davis, another guy who is currently detained in Turkey, to be a member of the gang.

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