Telegraph—Islamic State jihadists ruling over much of Syria and Iraq have a new icon, whose fashionably styled curly hair and black-rimmed glasses contrast strikingly with the pose in which he has been photographed: astride a horse, and waving a shining scimitar above his head.
Islam Yaken before Taking the Qur'an Seriously
Identified by friends as a young Egyptian university graduate from a well-off Cairo family, Islam Yaken, he has been both lionised and demonised back home as the "hipster jihadi".
Although he is said to have once been a supporter of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood former president, Mohammed Morsi, his friends say there was little to suggest his sudden change of life direction a year ago.
His page on the social media site VK suggest a young man apparently obsessed with his body - it is dominated by a series of pictures of him in a gym, showing off his toned physique.
Now he uses Twitter to glorify the "Caliphate" of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, and to post gory pictures including one of two heads in a basket, which he compares to the heads of sheep that can be ordered for the table in specialist Egyptian restaurants.
"Islam Yaken's story is freaking scary," wrote one former school-mate, Aliya Mikkawi, on her own Twitter account. "He used to be at school with me."
Yaken after Taking the Qur'an Seriously
Yaken was educated at the French Lycée in Heliopolis, an upmarket suburb of Cairo near the presidential palace, and speaks English and French as well as Arabic. He then went on to the prestigious Ain Shams University to study law, graduating last year.
His tweets from before he left for jihad show a more secular bent. "Kissing Burns 6.4 Calories A Minute," says one from 2011.
Now he is trying to persuade his family to come and join him in Raqqa, the city on the River Euphrates in Syria that Islamic State has now controlled for a year. "I spoke with my mother and told her to come and stay in this flat on the Euphrates," he wrote.
"She can eat and drink and study, with the family and everything. She replied, 'My son, what would happen if the owners of the flat came back? What will you do then?' I told her not to worry - they are dead and gone." (Continue Reading.)
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Islam Yaken: From Bodybuilding Law School Graduate to ISIS Butcher
Western leaders continue to insist that jihad is the result of disenfranchised youth, joblessness, etc. But the lives of actual jihadists tell a completely different story. Islam Yaken came from a wealthy family, spent much of his time bodybuilding, and graduated from law school. Why would he turn to jihad? Could it possibly have something to do with Muhammad's teachings?