Friend of Steven Sotloff, victim of jihadist Mohammed Emwazi
Barak Barfi is a close friend of Steven Sotloff, one of the victims of the British Islamic State militant known as Jihadi John. The jihadist has in recent days been unmasked as Mohammed Emwazi, a 26 year-old, Kuwaiti-born British man from west London. He has been identified as the person seen in beheading videos of Western hostages, including US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid worker David Haines, British taxi driver Alan Henning, and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, known as Peter. The UK-based Muslim advocacy group Cage has claimed that contact between MI5 and Emwazi may have contributed to his radicalisation. But UK security services have also been criticised in recent days for not stopping Emwazi fleeing to Syria to join Islamic State in 2013. Barak Barfi is a spokesperson for the Sotloff family, and is also a a research fellow at the New America Foundation, where he specialises in Arab and Islamic affairs.