January 10, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10416

Trending Urdu-Language Hashtags On Twitter In Pakistan Call Slain Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander Qassem Soleimani An 'International Terrorist,' Marks Anniversary Of His Death As 'Salvation Day'

January 10, 2023
Special Dispatch No. 10416

In the days before and after January 3, 2023, the third anniversary of the assassination of Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force commander General Qassem Soleimani, hashtags used by radical Sunni organizations in Pakistan calling Soleimani an "international terrorist," "killer Qassem Soleimani," and "the killer of the Ummah" and marking January 3 as "Salvation Day" for Muslims, were trending. Some of the tweets reflect hostility toward the West and Jews.

General Qassem Soleimani – known for establishing and running pro-Iran militias to advance Iran's strategic and ideological interests outside Iran – was killed in a U.S. drone strike near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.

The campaign mainly comprised two hashtags: "#BloodyKillerQassemSoleimani" and "#InternationalTerroristQassemSoleimani."

On January 8, a Twitter handle describing itself as "Siddiqui Media Pakistan" questioned why some groups in Pakistan were praising Soleimani. He tweeted on January 8: "It is an extremely shameless act to mark the death anniversary of the killer of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in a Muslim country [Pakistan]."[1]

Siddiqui Media Pakistan also tweeted that Qassem Soleimani "colluded with Israel when he provided intel support to Israel" for the assassination of Hamas leaders.[2] It described January 3 as a "Salvation Day."

Twitter user M. Rizwan Chohan said Qassem Soleimani was "a bloodthirsty Iranian pig who collaborated with America to dismantle the Taliban government in Afghanistan in 2001."[3] Al-Haideri Media Mansehra, which appears to be based in the Pakistani town of Mansehra, also described January 3 as "Salvation Day" and wrote in Urdu: "The accursed General Qassem Soleimani was the most dangerous bloody enemy of Sunni Muslims in the entire Middle East."[4]

In an Urdu Tweet, Sheraz Taimouri, another Pakistani Twitter user, wrote: "Outside Iran, the Al-Qods Force supports and aids non-state, anti-state elements in the countries of the region such as Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Palestine."[5] Another Twitter account said that Qassem Soleimani "plundered and destroyed Iraq at the behest of his American paymasters."[6] Siddiqui Media Pakistan, in another tweet, said that Soleimani: "Was responsible for Sunni pogroms in Syria and Iraq."[7]

The trending hashtags seem to have emerged in Pakistan after Sunni groups were angered by some posters and billboards that appeared to eulogize Qassem Soleimani.[8]

Arsalan SSP – in which SSP stands for Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) – described Qassem Soleimani as "the killer of the Ummah" and tweeted: "The senior military leader general Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in January [2020], exported terrorism and for several decades set fire to sectarian [Shia-Sunni] violence. As a result of this, thousands of people lost their lives. Killer of the Ummah – Qassem Soleimani."[9]

"The Iranian Revolution funded Shi'ite militias in Pakistan that assassinated famous Sunni ulema [scholars] and activists, and then got these militias to seek refuge in Iran," wrote another Twitter user on January 8, 2023.[10] Twitter user Zia Ur Rehman Shah wrote: "Stop making hero of a killer of hundreds of thousands of Muslims. January 3 – Salvation Day." [11]

The Twitter trend emerged after some posters were noticed in Pakistan marking Qassem Soleimani as a hero

(Defence of the Companions Media, another anti-Shi'ite group, said: "The Qods Force is responsible for imposing the Shia system in Muslim countries through armed struggle."[12] "The Mullahs of Pakistan are frustrated by our Twitter trend. It means the target is on point. Friends should tweet and retweet and tell the world that Qassem Soleimani was not some hero or friend but a killer and rioter," tweeted Ubaid Ullah Anwar.[13]

Another user said: "The Iranian Revolution has exported Jewish narratives by exporting blasphemous Shi'ite books containing the worst imprecations on the Holy Companions of the Prophet PBUH [peace be upon him]."[14] Twitter user Al-Haideri Media wrote: "The Iranian Revolution caused a furore on the premises of the Holy Kaaba in Mecca by sending in armed, trained Iranian militants posing as pilgrims in 1984... "[15]

On January 7, 2023, a Twitter user wrote: "Qassem Soleimani was the cruel animal of Iraq whose hands were stained with blood of hundreds of thousands of Muslims of Syria and Iraq. He was also behind the rafidhi [pejorative term for Shi'ite] terrorists in Pakistan..."[16]

The Twitter trend emerged after some posters were noticed in Pakistan marking Qassem Soleimani as a hero

[1], January 8, 2023. The original English of some of the tweets in this dispatch has been lightly edited for clarity and standardization.

[2], January 8, 2023

[3], January 8, 2023

[4], January 8, 2023

[5], January 8, 2023

[6], January 8, 2023

[7], January 8, 2023

[8], January 8, 2023.

[9], January 8, 2023 

[10], January 8, 2023

[11], January 8, 2023


[13], January 8, 2023

[14], January 8, 2023

[15], January 8, 2023

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