World

Muslims tweet: they have better things to do than join Islamic State

New York:  A plea by the leader of the Islamic State terrorist group for Muslims to fight on its behalf against "disbelievers" prompted many to respond online with defiance and sarcasm.

The audio recording of the leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, released last week on jihadi social media sites, was the latest attempt to lure would-be militants to fight for the Islamic State's retrograde self-proclaimed caliphate.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-styled leader of Islamic State.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-styled leader of Islamic State.  Photo: AP

The Twitter backlash seems to have been prompted by Iyad El-Baghdadi, an Arab Spring activist from the United Arab Emirates who lives in Norway. El-Baghdadi posted translated excerpts from the Islamic State leader's audio message on Twitter and encouraged his followers to respond by trolling the extremist group and its online supporters.

On Wednesday, El-Baghdadi - whom some news organisations mistakenly identified as the Islamic State leader because his surname is similar to the militant's nom de guerre - made an effort to keep the digital resistance alive.

For days, Twitter users around the world have been taking shots at the Islamic State, sharing all of the things they would rather be doing than fighting for the group.

This week's campaign is the latest in a long-running fight by Internet vigilantes to disrupt the Islamic State's online propaganda.

"Basically, our work not only cripples their ability to spread propaganda, but also wastes their time," a Twitter vigilante who goes by the screen name The Doctor said in March.

The Islamic State has regularly used social media to spread its message, recruit fighters, and threaten "infidels" and other enemies. The insidious threat it represents appears to motivate Muslims like El-Baghdadi to fight the extremists at every tweet.

New York Times