Jihadist Fighters For ISIS Are Using Social Media Just Like We Do

Young ISIS fighters from the west do things that the rest of us do online and it's freaking us out…


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Normally when you think of terrorists or jihadists, you think of people on the fringes of society – oddballs you would never come into contact with, not the sort of people who do the same normal stuff you do, such as work in clothes shops or use social media like Ask.fm to chat with strangers with shared interests or tweet photos of the dinner they're enjoying.

However, some of the 500 jihadist fighters in Syria and Iraq, who've fled the UK to join ISIS and fight to declare the Islamic State a caliphate – where strict Sharia law and the killing of non-believers is sanctioned by its leaders – are doing exactly what ordinary people do, online at least.

It's emerged that the fighters, who are using Twitter to discuss all sorts – even Robin Wiliams' death – are also dishing out advice on Ask.fm to young people back in the UK who are questioning whether they should join them: 'Trust me, when ur here you will have ur brothers to talk to. Don’t be scared. 15-yr-olds can hack it bro, so why can’t you?' one jihadist said, reports The Mirror.

Hamidur Rahman, the 25-year-old who was killed in July after joining the jihadists in Syria just a month after being sacked from his job at Primark last year, would give out practical advice on how to get to the fighting. Using Ask.fm, he told potential jihadists to 'pack light' if travelling to join his quest for jihad.

He also said to critics: 'Why is everyone fussed about why havnt the The Islamic State taken this, gone to gaza etc. [sic]'

'Everything comes from Allah and he will only give once we are worthy of it. You should rather focus on yourself and ask yourself, why having you joined jihad yet? [sic]'

Accounts linked to his include one fighter tweeting a photo of a table full of badly-lit dinner – just like you see on your own timeline – along with the goading caption: 'While the US think they are causing havoc and damage to IS, we kick back & keep moving.'

The same account boasts that he was hanging out with a 'brother' who hacked P Diddy's credit card to buy everyone pizza. Oh, and also tweets that he's one of many 'hungry lions chasing martyrdom.'

Another friend, also presumed to be a jihadist, is very keen on showing the delicacies of the caliphate, sharing images of them getting takeaways, along with the comment: 'Wat better way to eat this meal thn chillin with [redacted] and [redacted] and watching a criminal being punished?'

We're not going to link you to the accounts they're using. One of the fighters has retweeted an image of a British rapper fighting in Syria, 23-year-old Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary from London, holding up the dismembered head of an enemy and we don't want you to have to come across that. Plus, giving them direct publicity is exactly what they want.

The Home Office told The Mirror: 'We do not tolerate the existence of online terrorist and extremist propaganda.

'We already work with the internet industry to remove terrorist material hosted in the UK or overseas and continue to work with civil society groups to help them challenge those who promote extremist ideologies online.'

However, as far as we can tell, these boys are making new accounts as soon as they're being deleted, which just goes to show just how tech-savvy they are. No way are we condoning what they're saying or doing, but it shines a light on the fact that not all of the jihadists' behaviours are entirely alien and they are keen to glamourise their lives, just like we all are. And by being so accessible, they've got the potential to have quite a hold over young people in the UK. Which is the most chilling part of all.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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