Isis militants 'using Twitter to ask for suggestions on how to kill Jordanian pilot'

Isis hashtags are vastly outnumbered by messages of support

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 30 December 2014 10:30 GMT
Members of the Islamic State group with captured the pilot, who is wearing a white shirt
Members of the Islamic State group with captured the pilot, who is wearing a white shirt (AP)

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Isis supporters are using Twitter for suggestions on how to kill the Jordanian pilot captured last week, with supporters posting gruesome photographs and recommendations on the site.

An Arabic hashtag that translates into “Suggest a Way to Kill the Jordanian Pilot Pig” has been retweeted over thousands of times.

Jordanian pilot First Lieutenant Muath al-Kasaesbeh, also known as Moaz, was captured by Isis fighters on Christmas Eve. The plane went down over Syria, but Isis and the US have disputed whether the group shot it down.

The group published an interview with the pilot in Dabiq, its monthly English-language magazine, last week. The piece ends with the question "Do you know what the Islamic State will do with you?" To which Al-Kasasbeh replies: "Yes… They will kill me…"

Many of the Twitter posts contain graphic embedded images, including photographs of beheadings and of wounded children. One shows a steamroller captioned with a message that translates into ‘Goodbye Moaz’, while another features a stock picture saying ‘Nothing better than the axe’.

Others link to a video made by a woman who claims her son was killed by a coalition airstrike. She suggests that shooting or stabbing the pilot would be “merciful”.

Some of the individual posts have been retweeted over 100 times and, while they peaked on last week, have continued since.

Another hashtag that translates as ‘We All Want To Slaughter Moaz’ has been tweeted thousands of times, too. That hashtag features mocked up images of the pilot with Isis soldiers — including one doctored image of the man being held by “Jihadi John”, the Isis member that the group claims killed many of the British and American men killed in videos released in recent months.

But supporters have also taken to Twitter to post on a hashtag that translates as ‘We Are All Moaz’, praising the pilot and offering messages of support for the family. The messages have been posted by members of the royal family — with the Queen and Crown Prince of Jordan’s two posts alone getting more support than any of the Isis posts.

Charlie Winters, a researchers for the anti-extremism thinktank Quilliam, said that many of those sharing the Isis-supporting hashtags are likely to be "bandwagoning".

"They've also been hijacking the hashtag in support of him," Winters said. But he stressed several of the Twitter posts, which contain graphic embedded images, would be "bandwagoning". "Jihadists and their sympathisers all over the world have been energised in calling for his execution."

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