Anti-radicalisation activist demands apology from news site that said his 'Twitter account belonged to Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi'

The Twitter page of Iyad El-Baghdadi - who describes himself as an 'Islamic libertarian' - was reportedly stated as belonging to the Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

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The Independent Online

A human rights activist researching how to tackle radicalisation has been left outraged after a news site reportedly wrongly claimed that his Twitter account belonged to the Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In an article alleging that al-Baghdadi had called on Muslims to “rise up and overthrow Israel and Western countries”, Indonesian news site Republika incorrectly said that the terrorist’s Twitter account had the handle “iyad_elbaghdadi” – when it, in fact, belongs to Iyad El-Baghdadi, an entrepreneur living in Norway, who describes himself on the same account as an “Islamic libertarian”.

Spotting the error, Mr El-Baghdadi - an “Arab spring activist” originally from the UAE - furiously demanded an apology from the news site on Twitter, branding the mix-up as “stupid and irresponsible”.

He wrote: “This isn’t the Isis leader’s account. I want an immediate retraction and an apology.

“I can also suggest a few journalist 101 courses to your social media staff.”

The mistake was all the more ironic because Mr El-Baghdadi is actively involved in researching the causes of radicalisation and how it can be prevented.

In a post on his website from September, he said he had recently presented some of his ideas at the second conference of the Universal Tolerance Organisation, based in Norway.   

Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his first appearance on video when he gave a sermon in Mosul in July

With more than 69,000 followers on Twitter, Mr El-Baghdadi is a “stateless Palestinian” who was expelled from the UAE with “no reasons given”, according to his website.

Republika has not yet responded to Mr El-Baghdadi’s tweet asking for an apology.

The Independent has contacted Republika for comment.