Mehdi Masroor Biswas
Fake fake fake
“His tweets, written under the name Shami Witness, were seen 2 million times each month, making him perhaps the most influential Islamic State Twitter account, with over 17,700 followers,” Channel 4 said in its report, adding that Biswas not only wrote about ISIS on the Twitter account, but also urged people to join the militant group.
ISIS’s biggest English-speaking online cheerleader is unmasked and on the run. The real facts of his life seem totally pathetic.
Shami, we hardly knew ye! All those bloodthirsty tweets and arcane exhortations and now we find out you were an advertising executive—an ad exec!—who liked “pizza dinners smothered in sausage and mushrooms, and Hawaiian parties at work” We all know traditional Hawaiian parties aren’t a party without a pig in a pit roasting to perfection! Such dark comedy played out on Isis, and the many followers who eagerly swallowed everything that he fed to them. Shame on you. Now your a Coward begging for mercy that if people find out who you are, you very well could end up dead!
Citing Shami’s own claim that “his life would be in danger if his true identity was made public” Channel 4 identified him only by his first name, Mehdi, we will use his real name Mehadi Biswas.
His life could be in danger! Shami is scared. Not about encouraging aspiring butchers to live out their violent fantasies in Syria. That’s still fine, or is it? He just doesn’t want people to know that it’s him cheering on the murder.
Shami—no, let’s use his real name—Mehdi’s praise for ISIS was easy to digest for his nearly 18,000 followers, which included two thirds of all foreign fighters according to Channel 4’s report. His message evolved into a hardline defense that celebrated beheadings while praising the self-declared Islamic State for its governance. As ISIS massacred its enemies—anyone who didn’t swear allegiance to the group—Mehdi laundered the slaughter as a tough on crime, law and order agenda. Islamic State brought “peace, autonomy, zero corruption, low crime-rate,” he Tweeted last month as while eating his sausage and mushroom pizza also delivered by an Isis front man.
“It’s hard to overstate how influential ShamiWitness was among English-speaking ISIS supporters on Twitter,” said terrorism analyst J.M. Berger.
Berger, who has specialized in documenting the way terror networks operate through social media, describes Mehdi’s influence and the consequences of his outing:
“Even before his self-deletion, ISIS social media activists were already complaining about the suspensions of their most influential users, which they have described as having a ‘devastating’ effect on their online efforts. The early reaction to Shami closing his account is similarly alarmed. This is a big deal. It won’t stop ISIS’s efforts to spread its message and recruit, but it is a significant setback for those efforts.”
He wrote mostly in a clever colloquial English that appealed to Western ISIS admirers and served as a source of information for intelligence analysts and reporters—I was one of his followers. But he sprinkled in enough Arabic and stern, old-fashioned injunctions to fit in with ISIS’ hokey approximation of a pre-modern style.
There’s a longer story to be written about Mehdi’s radicalization, but that’s for another day. Right now it’s enough to let the bare facts of his existence be the knife twisting in his back.
I say his back because Mehdi is now a fugitive. Both the Bangalore City Crime Branch and Indian national intelligence officials are after him. “We are tracking down the man,” the Bangalore Police Commissioner said.
Before it caught up to him, here was Mehdi in top form, talking tough through his alter ego Shami—check out that hard-man slang—about the risks others took.
“You bros talked the talk, walked the walk,” Medhi wrote after Iftikhar Jaman, a private school educated British jihadist, died fighting for ISIS in Syria.
But Mehdi, bro, what about you?
He was gonna join the fight, you know, really he was, got his ninja getup fitted and everything.
“If I had a chance to leave everything and join them I might have.” But we’ll just cut the quote off there and spare you the bullshit about his family needing him at home.
How many Xbox games, pizza boxes, and fresh towels are there in that home of Mehdi’s? How fast was the Internet connection? How many emails and private messages did he send, urging young men to martyrdom, soothing their consciences about those troubling stories of ISIS raping and enslaving Yazidi women, and butchering fellow Muslims by the thousands? What other shameful secrets might a search of his Internet history turn up unrelated to his months swooning over ISIS?
It’s a satisfying downfall, but dizzying. A lost Mel Brooks musical parodying the dark side of Post-modern globalism—an Indian ad exec connected to his English speaking pop culture-saturated followers through a common longing for an anti-Western, pre-modern Caliphate and a empty pizza box and pork greased keyboard.
A choice between terrifying and pathetic presents itself. It’s a false choice. Isis your Hero turned out to be a ZERO. But like Muhammad you will chose to defend him, because you don’t want to admit to being the fools you are.