Flag-burning in the Middle-East, surely not? Islamic State Lebanon Flag Burn
An extremely daring social media campaign has emerged from the Middle-East that sets out to reject the very existence of the Islamic State.
This new Arab spring involves burning the IS flag, in a protest that resembles the Ice Bucket Challenge as it appears you have to nominate the next flag burner. It would go down well in Pakistan but for the fact that the flag has “There is no god but God and Muhammad is his Prophet” written right across it.
Three Lebanese youths uploaded photos of themselves burning the flag of the Islamic State in Sassine Square in Beirut. This was followed by an anonymous YouTube user, again from Lebanon, who posted a video clip in which he also burnt the flag. He then invited others to take part in the #BurnISISFlagChallenge.
Criticism of the protest BurnISISFlagChallenge.
However, there has been criticism of the campaign, not least from the Minister of Justice in Lebanon, Ashraf Rifi, who accused the participants of the flag-burning in Sassine Square of insulting Islam because the flag contains words that express the Islamic faith, words from the Qur’an. Rifi was quoted as saying in Asharq Al-Awsat “this has nothing to do with IS and its terrorist approach.”
A number of Lebanese MPs also criticized Rifi’s statement. Ibrahim Kanaan, a member of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, came forward to say he will represent the three boys accused of burning the flags if a case against them makes it to court.
Nabil Naqoula, a Change and Reform member, rejected Rifi’s call concerning the incident and begged him to withdraw the request he had made to the state prosecutor. “The youths who burned the ISIS flag did not mean to insult the Islamic religion,” Naqoula said, adding that “this flag does not represent Islam in the slightest.”
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, asked the Prime Minister Tammam Salam to “be wary of sectarian conflict and from taking any decisions which could lead to it.” He implored Lebanese Christians to “not confuse IS with Islam, nor the Prophet’s flag with that of IS, because Islam is the furthest thing possible from IS”.
Another, Emad Bezi, tweeted sarcastically: “Ashraf Rifi is asking for those who burned the ISIS flag to be brought to justice—since the embassy from [Abu Bakr] Baghdadi’s state [the “Caliphate” declared by IS in Iraq] might resent this, and this might cause a diplomatic crisis between us.”
Criticism of Rifi also filled social media websites, with many calling for the minister to resign or be sacked, and others calling for mass protests to burn the militant groups’ flags, using a hashtag in Arabic meaning “Burn it.”
How about you? Do you fancy posting your video of the IS flag in flames?
Lewes Bonfire Society Guy Fawkes 5th November