A disturbing trend on which WND reported last month – that of the photographs of jihadis after they died being posted on Twitter – now has spread, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute.
WND reported a month ago when the disturbing social-media trend came to light in the Middle East: Friends and family were celebrating the deaths of jihadists by posting photos of their corpses on Twitter.
The celebrants note that in some cases, the “martyrs” killed in “holy wars” in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere seem to be smiling. Some even have their eyes open.
The report by Steven Stalinsky, the executive director of MEMRI, explains Instagram is an increasingly popular social media site that lets users share photos. There are some 90 million monthly users who post 40 million pictures every day.
Photos that are posted on Instagram can be seen by visiting websites such as Statigram, a web viewer, officials said.
MEMRI monitored the site for four months, and found “a tremendous increase of its use by online jihadis.”
“A common theme of the photos that they post is images of and quotes by al-Qaida leaders such as Osama bin Laden, Anwar Al-Awlaki, Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and many others,” Stalinsky reported.
Another theme is those radicals who are in jail.
But also common are the photographs of the dead jihadis, even though Instagram’s Community Guidelines say those accounts that display photographs of extreme violence or gore may be disabled.
Likewise, Statigram requires users not to use the site to publish any photograph that is “pornographic, racist, anti-Semitic, discriminatory, pedophiliac, racial, vulgar, obscene, fraudulent, illegal, injurious, defamatory” or that shows “dead animals or people.”
Earlier MEMRI reported the “martyrs” whose photographs were being uploaded were prominent Muslim sheiks, writers on online jihadi forums and ordinary Muslim men who died carrying out jihad.
The language of the tweets was particularly disturbing. Rather than conveying a sense of tragedy and loss over the deaths, the tweets are more inspirational, portraying the deceased as heroes. Most include a plea to Allah to “accept” the “martyrs” into paradise.
Twitter user @omarz7 tweeted under an image: “The Iraqi Spring #Syria #Immediate #Iraqi revolution. We inform Muslims in general, and to our family in Al-A’zamiyah in particular, the news about the martyrdom of our heroic mujahid brother, the son of Al-A’zamiyah, the pious heroic hero, Muhammad Ghassan Kilan who was martyred in the battle of Al-Yarmook Camp [fighting along] with the heroes of the FSA in defending Syria from the shabiha [thugs] and Safavids [meaning the Iranians]. Muhammad Kilan rose to defend Syria during the first days of the Syrian revolution. It’s our promise not to forget you O Muhammad Kilan, O you are our brother and beloved one. Truly, your departure is difficult for us O Muhammad, and we will not forget you, O cub of Al-A’zamiya.”
Many of the tweets also serve as a means of informing the families of their lost loved ones.
The Islamic term “jihad” is translated as “struggle.” Muslim scholars speak of a “greater jihad,” an internal, spiritual struggle, and a “lesser jihad,” or outward struggle widely interpreted as holy war.
A sampling of the tweets shows the pleas to Allah to accept the dead, and several mention the smiles the “martyrs” appear to be displaying in death.
On Jan. 19, @Qurrah000, tweeted, “Martyr Mujahid Abdulla Bawazir, may Allah accept him, his face shines [even as] a martyr #Ansar al-Sharia #al-Qaeda #Yemen.”
As reported by the Middle East Research Institute, the Comprehensive Military Library, a jihadi twitter account which uses the handle @mktbh_askreih, posted pictures of the body of Sheik Khalid ibn ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Husseinan, a senior al-Qaida figure who was killed in a drone attack in early December 2012.
“We bring to you the happy news of the wedding [martyrdom] of the martyr al-Sheikh Abdallah Al-Hussein from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was martyred a few hours ago in Allepo of the martyrs” – Liwa Al-Ummah
“The martyr, whom we believe to be Zayd Al-Bawaridi ‘Abu Osama Al-Tamimi’ got martyred as we believe in the Battle of Yaacoubia in the reef of Idlib on January 24, 1434, [of the Islamic calendar]. The picture is from two months after his martyrdom. May Allah accept him. His wound doesn’t stop flowing blood.”
“[Words addressed to clerics or to rulers]: Whether you opened the gates of jihad or you didn’t, the men and the heroes of Saudi Arabia leapt to jihad in the land of Syria. Allah will bring back to life our heroic people Abdalaziz al-Jaghiman and Abdallah Al-Hussein.”
One announcement said: “Congrats to me, congrats to me … I became a martyr O my family, alive in paradise along with the beautiful hoor [al-‘Ayn].”
Images from the Instagram-Statigram site were not publishable.