A prominent Arab activist has been the victim of an unfortunate case of mistaken identity after Twitter users and news outlets confused him for the leader of Daesh, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Iyad El-Baghdadi, a renowned anti-oppression activist, is a far cry from anything that resembles a Daesh militant.
Born in Kuwait, he spent his life in the UAE before being given an ultimatum: indefinite imprisonment or immediate deportation, according to the Huffington Post. His constant tweeting about topics such as democracy and freedom in the Middle East during and after the Arab Spring apparently caused the UAE to see him as too much of a threat. He applied for political asylum in Norway after being unable to return to Kuwait.
He still maintains a strong Twitter presence, with nearly 70,000 followers. However in the past week he has been the victim of a barrage of angry comments from people who have mistaken him for the leader of Daesh, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
It all started when he translated a portion of al-Baghdadi’s recent speech which asks Muslims to join Daesh, and tweeted it. His translation kickstarted a viral campaign of Muslims hilariously responding with their reasons why they could not join.
Unfortunately there were those—including media outlets—who thought that El-Baghdadi was the leader of Daesh. He and his supporters are now working to clarify that he is very different from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, calling out Twitter users and news stations for their blatant ignorance.
They thought the IS leader tweets in English in a beret and describes himself as 'Arab Spring activist' born in UAE? https://t.co/pyB26Jg0Ht— Aya Batrawy (@ayaelb) December 30, 2015
Apparently it's not against @twitter's rules to point to a specific person and call him an ISIS member.— Iyad El-Baghdadi (@iyad_elbaghdadi) December 30, 2015
@iyad_elbaghdadi I know some good old boys in Georgia and Alabama who would LOVE to come meet you guys. Where are you exactly?— William MacLeod (@SonOfAsgard) December 30, 2015
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