The following report is a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.
The launch of the military campaign against the Islamic State (IS), in which France and Belgium have enlisted, has sparked a flurry of French-language posts by IS supporters and fighters on the social media calling for terror attacks in Europe and particularly in France.
Before the U.S.-led coalition launched its campaign against the Islamic State, the organization concentrated its rhetoric on local enemies, while largely refraining from threatening Western countries. Following the campaign's start the the US and Western countries became the main targets. On September 21, 2014, IS spokesman Abu Muhammad Al-‘Adanani called for retaliating against members of the international coalition, urging IS supporters worldwide to perform attacks in their countries of residence against both military and civilian targets using any means possible. He specifically identified France as a recommended target .
Al-Adnani’s call triggered online discussions among IS supporters and fighters , including most appropriately French-speakers IS operatives active on Facebook began to incite and goad their online friends and followers to follow up Al-‘Adnani's order by carrying out acts of terror against civilian targets, including women and children, in their home countries. Such threats are at unprecedented frequency levels.
Following is a selection of threats made by IS fighters or supporters in French on Facebook:
Facebook postings by French IS fighter and supporter relaying Al-Adnani’s call for attacks
French IS Fighter: Kill Europeans “By A Martyrdom Operation Or Something Else”
Numerous IS fighters and supporters hastened to the social networks to disseminate Al-‘Adnani’s call to attack Western targets. On September 22, 2014, a French IS fighter who goes by the nickname Abu Zubayra posted the text of Al-Adnani’s call on his Facebook page adding: "Sheikh Abu Muhammad Al-‘Adnani has called for killing Europeans and particularly the French in response to the French attacks on the Islamic State, moreover according to the verses of Allah and Shari'a this act is legitimate. It could be achieved by a martyrdom operation…or something else. So for those who cannot emigrate or something, I think it's time to ask yourself the real question, are we really supporting the Muslims or are we passionate online activists (basically hypocrites)? Every person should pose this question to himself. This is not a criticism, or anything, I am the first to ask myself this question. May Allah guide our steps and our hearts."
IS supporter "Amine Meslem" also quotes the threat from the IS spokesman. This is an example of many individuals relaying the IS message through quotes of IS officials. Quoting Al-‘Adnani, he posted: "Oh soldiers of the Caliphate, prepare yourself for the last crusade, yes, I swear to Allah the last crusade, after this we will bomb them and they will not bomb us anymore."
Abu Salman, French Fighter: “You Received The Order To Hit France, Now Go For It”
Abu Salman, a fighter for the IS, calls his Facebook followers: "So you have received the order to hit France now go for it" To this statement, Amine Meslem, a French IS supporter in France comments: "If you refuse to do it [attack], when your brothers are bombed and killed and that their blood and their riches all over [the world] has been made lawful by their enemies, then revise your religion. You are in a dangerous situation because religion cannot be established without Al Wala wal bara [doctrine of loyalty to Muslims and renouncement of non-Muslims].”
IS Supporter From Paris: “What Are We Waiting For To Besiege The Elysee”
"Zeitoun Portugal" is a French IS supporter from the Paris area. He posted this status on Facebook on August 10, 2014: "So Brothers what are we waiting for to besiege the Elysee [Palace]!? If we gather 15000 brothers, or less it doesn’t matter, we will be able to take over the Elysee and when I say take it, I don’t mean being like the homos yelling 'israel assassins', take out the nice demonstration outfit so the girls can say ('Yay, he's my Jack Sparrow! [From the famous Pirates of the Caribbean character] No! Take your bats and your arsenal, don't fear jail anymore, and don't fear the infidels! Are you for Palestine? Be for Islam and stand up here in order to be much more than a splinter in the foot that bothers the states that attack our brothers in Iraq who are our only hope against Israel! Let's stop being weak! We are so numerous that we can make Europe an Islamic State and we avert our eyes downwards before the infidels? When will this stop?"
French IS Supporter Goads Fellow Muslims To Carry Out Attacks In France: “May Allah Destroy The Cowards”
The owner of the account 'Rappels sur l'islam' is a French IS supporter. He posted a message which he says is relayed from a brother – apparently referring to an IS fighter stationed in Iraq or Syria. The IS fighter goaded French Muslims who claim to support the IS to live up to their professions of loyalty to their faith and seek martyrdom by carrying out an attack: "They [Muslims in France] want to go to paradise, but if you tell them to act and die immediately to get to paradise as martyrs, you will see them hesitant as if they had doubts about Allah's promise that martyrs are in paradise. By Allah, reexamine your faith. Do you know the worth of the martyr killed in enemy territory? I say no… Because if you knew, you would all have thrown yourself in the path of Allah seeking martyrdom and applying the lex talionis [the law of an eye for an eye] upon those who kill your brothers. If they were your blood brothers you would have acted unless you were cowards. So how come when itconcerns your brothers in Allah you hesitate and search thoroughly for excuses?
Either you are cowards or you are hypocrites because, as far as I know, nobody has yet applied the order that came from the central command. Your brothers are counting on you to avenge their blood. They are disappointed with you, so shame on you… yes shame on you who are scared to die. This world is a prison for the believer so leave it with glory and honor. Leave it tonight, or tomorrow. You said you supported your [Islamic] State and your Emir [Al-Baghdadi]; but until now no one has applied the order. So who will be the first believer to obey? Who? Either you are a spectator or you are an actor. May Allah destroy the cowards. Be certain of the paradise that was promised to you and go up there now. Allah will judge each personby his acts and by his shortcomings. Once again: May Allah destroy he cowards."
The French IS supporter "Rappels sur l'Islam" writes:" They are bombing hospitals. That’s enough, their needs to be a [terrorist] attack against the Americans." Another supporter answers:"May Allah smash those pigs so long as a single hair of a Muslim will be so much as brushed by their dirty hands. I swear by Allah that regret and horror will fill their history […]."
On August 11, 2014, after the first airstrikes by French forces were announced, the Tunisia-based IS supporter and media propagator "Rostom Al Tounisi" posted on his Facebook account: "France has officially entered the war againstour Caliphate! Francois Holland is licking Obama's ass, may Allah destroy France and America!" He further adds in commentary: "Yes yes it is sure. Brothers in France, you are in a country that has officially declared war on your religion. Disavow yourself from this country and leave it while there is still time."
The same "Rostom Al Tounisi" (on a backup account set up as a precaution if his original account is shut down), posted on Facebook: "Merah [the terrorist responsible for the Toulouse killings in 2012] and Nemouche [the suspected shooter in the Brussely Jewish museum attack in 2014] were only a smallsample of what will happen in the future, Allah willing!"
Following Al-'Adnani's call by to attack civilians, women and children, supporters and fighters raised some questions on social media by. "Abou Jihad Fisabililah", a French supporter of the IS, asked on his account: "Is it permitted to kill Arab politicians, so called Muslims, who are participating in the propaganda in Europe aimed at discrediting the jihadi brothers?"
Abou Souleyman Al Maghribi, Zeyd Garry, and Younes Zadar, IS fighters stationed in the Raqqa area, held the following discussion on Facebook:" I would be glad to slaughter a French soldier in a Muslim country." Abou Hafs (IS supporter in France) answered: "send me a picture of his head and a package with his teeth." Younes Zadar comments, taunting French supporters into action: "Here brothers are willing to pay to cut the throat of an American." Abu Souleyman answers:"Like me for example lol". Zeyd Garry posted on Facebook to his jihadi friend:"We will cut all the throats of these French people. Is that right Younes Zadar?"
“Crying For Your Brothers Is Good But Acting Is Better”
After the first U.S. strikes on the IS stronghold of Al-Raqqa, a French fighter in the IS who uses the alias "Situ Veux Mon Avis" wrote this message. "Last night at 4 o'clock in the morning, the silence was broken by the noise of apostasy, unbelief, weakness and treachery and cowardice, a foul smell… Impurity, perversity spread by the representatives of unbelief and their allies, who are trying to control the sky without thinking that Allah is higher than their planes and that by his grace they will keep crashing down… May Allah accept our fallen brothers among the green birds of paradise… May Allah grant us firmness so that all the righteous will take action [against IS enemies]. The battle is not only the duty of those who have emigrated [to Syria and Iraq]. The call has been raised, stand up for your religion, pray and go forth, spill their impure blood as much as you can, terrorize this band of dirty dogs more than they are already. May Allah make us die truthful and grant victory to his religion, may Allah restore honor to the Muslims living in the lands of infidels. Crying for your brothers is good but acting is better. May Allah grant you sincerity in your acts and I ask Allah to allow me to see my brothers and sisters of Europe 'perpetrate acts of terror on European soil' and to feel the pride that Mohammad Merah may Allah have mercy upon him, has made us feel. May Allah protect you all."
“Dear France: The Soldiers Of The Islamic State Have Made Themselves At Home, Armed And Ready”
Abou Carnalito, another IS fighter, who uses as a profile picture the mug shot of Mehdi Nemmouche (the suspected Brussels Museum shooter) posted on Facebook a picture of a grafitti written on a container in Syria and commented: "That is real good Allah Akbar. There is going to be minced meat in France to cure the hearts of the believers." The graffiti reads:"Oh France, The soldiers of the Islamic State have made themselves at home, armed and ready”