Melbourne's 'White jihadi' turned to IS after mum's death

The skinny dark haired boy nicknamed the ‘white jihadi’ revealed as Melbourne school dropout Jake Bilardi reportedly turned to IS after his mum died from cancer.

The 18-year-old, who was a gifted student attending Craigieburn Secondary College, began looking for a faith and searching for answers after the family tragedy in 2012.

Bilardi has taken to Twitter since his identity was revealed and told a reporter that IS are planning an attack that will make 9/11 'look like child's play', reports The Australian newspaper.

He wrote: “What we have in store for you dogs will make 9/11 look like child’s play."

The paper reports Twitter suspended Bilardi’s ­account late yesterday.

His aunt Connnie Bilardi told News Corp that the teenager, described as an 'outsider' by school mates, privately converted to Islam.

Jake was reportedly living with his siblings before he left Melbourne to join IS, News Corp reports.

His family who are said to be ‘worried sick’ about him but have been in touch with him over social media.

The maths genius appeared in an IS picture on Twitter in December and was identified by Fairfax Media.

Classmate Ulus Shefket, who was in the same year as Jake at school, said: "He was quiet and barely had any friends. Whenever you tried to joke with him he would react aggressively," reports Daily Mail Australia.

Ulus Shefket went to school with Jake and describes him as an outsider. Photo: Facebook
Ulus Shefket went to school with Jake and describes him as an outsider. Photo: Facebook

Another former schoolmate Josh Green-Mercier said: "He always looked depressed and was always looking down.

'He never communicated unless it was to do with culture and beliefs or math, he always listened to our conversations.

"Not many people knew him and he never opened himself up."

The boys explained how Jake converted to Islam in 2012 and was very vague about why he had chosen to follow the religion.

A former classmate of Jake describes his shock at finding out someone he went to school with has joined IS. Photo: Facebook
A former classmate of Jake describes his shock at finding out someone he went to school with has joined IS. Photo: Facebook

The news comes two days after two western Sydney brothers were stopped from leaving Sydney Airport on Friday night.

They were believed to be trying to leave Australia to go to the Middle East to join IS.

The 16 and 17 year olds were arrested but then released into the custody of their parents.

The teenager reportedly attended an accelerated learning program at Craigieburn Second College.

Despite his success at school Jake dropped out of school last year after converting to Islam.

He then purchased a one-way ticket to Istanbul in Turkey to join IS to fight.


Despite early reports saying the photo has been faked Fairfax media has positively identified by two friends from two north suburban mosques in Melbourne.

Jake was known as a quiet boy who worshiped with them for about a year before disappearing.

A former school friend of Jake, who didn’t want to be named, told Fairfax he had "made his own choice and he believes its the right choice”.

"He was not pushed into IS and was not pushed into Islam.

"He was obviously a believer in Islam and wanted to fulfill what he believed was his duties to the religion."

Jake reportedly made contact with his family two months after his disappearance and told them he was in Iraq training for a "martyrdom mission".

But he later told them he was ‘too scared to do it and he prefers being a soldier’.

He is now believed to be in Syria.

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