March 14, 2013 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 948

Online Jihadis Embrace Instagram (Warning: Graphic Images)

March 14, 2013 | By Steven Stalinsky*
Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 948


Instagram is an increasingly popular social media company that allows users to share photos. The site boasts 90 million monthly active users, and says that its users post 40 million photos every day.[1] Photos used on Instagram can be seen by visiting websites such as Statigram, which is a web viewer for Instagram that allows users to view and search photos.[2]

Since MEMRI first began monitoring the site four months ago, there has been a tremendous increase of its use by online jihadis. A common theme of the photos that they post is images of and quotes by Al-Qaeda leaders such as Osama bin Laden, Anwar Al-Awlaki, Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and many others. Another theme is the glorification of imprisoned jihadis: the Blind Sheikh Omar Abd Al-Rahman, Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan, underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and many others who have successfully attacked Americans.

Following the recent phenomenon of the dissemination of Faces Of Death: On Twitter, Jihadis Distribute Photos Of 'Martyrs', many of the same images, and similar ones, can be found on Instagram.

According to Instagram's Community Guidelines, accounts found to share prohibited or illegal content, including photographs of extreme violence or gore, may be disabled, and Instagram "will take appropriate action, "which may include reporting [the user] to the authorities."[3]

Statigram's Terms of Use state that the User/Organizer agrees not to use the Site or the Contest Tool to: publish any content or any photo that do not meet the conditions set forth in the Terms of Use Statigram Site; that do not comply with the Site policies; that is pornographic, racist, anti-Semitic, discriminatory, paedophiliac, racial, vulgar, obscene, fraudulent, illegal, injurious, defamatory, that encourages violence or criminal acts, that shows dead animals or people, blood or blood imitation, or similar contents, "or that is in any other way reprehensible as determined in the sole and absolute discretion of Statigram."[4]

This report highlights some Statigram accounts that are jihadi pictures from Instagram – the most recent Western social media company infested by online jihadis, and violating its rules/guidelines.

User "AbuHuraira"

Tagline: "Imran Khan." 616 photos, 1271 followers

Images: Osama bin Laden, Anwar Al-Awlaki, Mullah Omar, and others.

User "Jacob_Dara"

Tagline: "In Pursuit of Happiness." 68 photos, 12 followers

Images: The Blind Sheikh, Nidal Hasan, Anwar Al-Awlaki, and Al-Qaeda leaders and logos. This account also includes many images of dead jihadis.

"May Allah free our brothers by our hands" "Sins forgiven by the first drop of blood"

"The perfect smile!" "Those who tell the life of this world for the hereafter"

"What and ending! "What and ending!"

"Some have been true to their covenant with Allah." "Zubair al Libi (R.A)"

"Yahya al Libi (R.A)" "Anwar al Awalaki (R.A)"

"Zubar al Libi (R.A)" "Dirty French Kaffir killed by the Mujahideen in Somali"

"Ansar Al Dine – brother Killed by Kaffir French air strike." "The perfect smile."

"The perfect smile." "Mali."

"The perfect smile." "The perfect smile."

"The perfect smile." "The perfect smile."

"What a smile!" "The perfect smile."

"What a smile!" "What a smile!"

"What a smile!" "What a smile!" "What a smile!"

"What a smile!" "Our stamp of life."

"Our Women" "What a smile!

"Our Women" "Our Women"

"Do you know how much the dust on the shoes are worth?"

User "Almurbati1"

The account has 103 photos and 161 followers, and is following 80.

Images: Deceased Al-Qaeda leaders such as Osama bin Laden, Al- Zarqawi, and Al-Awlaki. It also includes many images with AQAP and Jabhat Al-Nusra logos.

User "Abo_thabet22"

The account has 41 photos and 121 followers, and is following 86.

Images: Child jihadi fighters, Al-Zarqawi and Al-Awlaki.

User "Momy_adl"

The account has 575 photos and 668 followers, and is following 301.

Images: Jihadi fighters in Chechnya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

User "Sh_16"

The account has 12 photos and 24 followers, and is following 11.

Images: Al-Qaeda fighters in various countries.

User "Hamidseddiki"

Tagline: "Khilafah we are coming." The account has 47 photos and 43 followers, and is following 82.

Images: Children dressed in jihadi garb and other assorted images.

User "Bridh11"

The account has 151 photos and 109 followers, and is following 33.

Images: Famous jihadi leaders.

*Steven Stalinsky is Executive Director of the Middle East Media Research Institute

Share this Report: