It is not clear who launched the hashtag since the users who appeared to be using it varied between Egyptians and Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) militants. The group has rebranded itself “Islamic State”, but in the Arab world the acronym ISIS remains the most commonly used one.
The posts were divided between sarcastic comments about Egyptians who joined ISIS and posts from ISIS militants urging Egyptians to join ISIS in Sinai.
One of the feed’s sarcastic tweets said: “I will join ISIS to gain a new experience after failing to cook myself lunch.” While ISIS militants have also joined the discussion, saying “dear Muslims of Egypt, carry your weapons to the State of Sinai to launch the Islamic Caliphate, instead of following misleading scholars.”
Twitter and Whatsapp are among the most active platforms for recruiting fighters in Syria from different parts all over the world. At least 300 Egyptians crossed into northern Syria through the Turkish borders, between 2012 and 2013, according to a study by the British Defence Institute.
Islam Yaken, who is Egyptian citizen who joined the militants in Syria following the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in 2013, appeared on twitter posting graphic photos of people he killed in Syria. His posts provoked negative comments from Egyptians; some of them were also sarcastic.
Yaken was featured in a video by the New York Times, where his closest friends said they did not know how or when he turned into such an extreme person.
Furthermore, Egyptian Mohamed Mehrez, who worked as a computer engineer, fled to Syria in 2012 to join a militant brigade in Idlib and was killed a month afterwards in a skirmish with the Syrian army.
According to his wife, it was his lifelong dream to die while doing “jihad”. She also added he used to help his fellows in Syria through donations.
In a conference launched by ousted president Mohamed Morsi in June 2013, under the title “victory to Syria”, he publicly urged Egyptians to go fight in Syria to rescue their fellow Muslims.
Following the ouster of Morsi in July 2013, several Muslim Brotherhood leaders were detained including Morsi himself. Moreover, security permission has become a requirement, by the homeland security authority, for any Egyptian citizen who wishes to obtain a visa to Turkey.