Iraq conflict spills onto Australian social media

A screen shot taken from Facebook. Picture: supplied

A screen shot taken from Facebook. Picture: supplied

Dozens of young Australians are showing their support for fighters in Syria and Iraq by liking images, creating online groups and adopting the black and white flag of the terror group on their personal social media sites.

Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts set up by men and women across Sydney and Melbourne are carrying images of armed fighters, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) flag, and messages of support for the "mujaheddin".

Some of the images are accompanied by slogans such as "Live by it, die by it" . One picture shows a picture of a gun and a passport, with the superimposed words: "That one way ticket to Jannah (heaven)".

An Australian Instagram account in the name of ISIL says "creating awareness of the true mujaheddin that have sacrificed everything for justice (share the page)".

One Sydney woman who has adopted the ISIL insignia as her cover photo on her Facebook page, had her Instagram account suspended on Friday.

Hers is one of a number of social media accounts that have been shut down in the past few weeks.

The Twitter account jnob_isis, which was followed by Australians, was suspended last week, attracting angry comments such as "Another#ISIS official account was suspended by Kufr [nonbelievers]". Another six Twitter accounts are also known to have been shut down.

But it appears that as soon as an account is shut down, another opens. A new group was formed in western Sydney earlier this month by a student who uses the ISIL flag as his profile picture.

A screen shot of an Australian Instagram account in support of ISIL. Picture: supplied

A screen shot of an Australian Instagram account in support of ISIL. Picture: supplied

The online activity comes as a petition was launched asking for Twitter to block all ISIS related accounts.

In the past few days graphic images of people being executed in Iraq have emerged, along with claims that Australians may have been involved.

The federal government believes up to 100 Australians are fighting in Iraq and Syria, and the Prime Minister Tony Abbott has vowed to take firm action against any Australians returning home who have been fighting with extremists groups, including the ISIS. 

News and photos of the massacres have emerged on social media sites, and insurgents have been encouraging others to join them by online recruitment videos.

A screen shot taken from Facebook. Picture: supplied

A screen shot taken from Facebook. Picture: supplied

On Friday a video, which has been reported by the ABC and is believed to have been made some weeks ago in Syria, emerged, featuring two men – Abu Yahya ash Shami and  Abu Nour al-Iraqi – identifying themselves as Australians.

The video, mostly recorded in English and titled "There is No Life without Jihad", was apparently posted online by members of  ISIL.

The video shows men carrying weapons, walking through bush and attending meetings, and encourages Australians and Americans to join the fight.

Subtitles on the video indicate that Abu Yahya ash Shami, who is believed to have come from Sydney, was killed some time after the video was made.

smh.com.au

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