Al Qaeda has come under attack from a massive troll army after asking Twitter users for ideas on how jihadis could run a PR campaign.
Using the hashtag #اقتراحك_لتطوير_اﻹعلام_الجهادي, which means “suggestions for development of jihadist media”, supporters of the Islamists' war on everyone offered various po-faced suggestions, like starting up a weekly mailout or an online discussion group.
But terrorism expert J.M. Berger, who tweets @intelwire, then decided to play a little game with the jihadis.
Berger, who recently published a book called Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, tweeted:
Hey everybody, Al Qaeda is using this hashtag to solicit ideas for media ops #اقتراحك_لتطوير_اﻹعلام_الجهادي -- you should all send some.— J.M. Berger (@intelwire) August 13, 2013
Hundreds of people then joined in, using the hashtag to bombard Al Qaeda-supporting Twitterers with ideas about how jihadis might boost their brand image.
Here's a few of the suggestions:
Al Qaeda the movie: Dude, where's my car bomb? #اقتراحك_لتطوير_اﻹعلام_الجهادي— Charlie (@timmyconspiracy) August 13, 2013
"Does this suicide belt make me look fat?" #اقتراحك_لتطوير_اﻹعلام_الجهادي— Rob Hintz (@Rob_Hintz) August 13, 2013
im thinkin martha stewart cave decorating special #اقتراحك_لتطوير_الإعلام_الجهادي— ct (@THayes23) August 14, 2013
#اقتراحك_لتطوير_الإعلام_الجهادي Is it true that your suicide bombing instructors say "Listen carefully, I will say this only once?"— Lobey Dosser (@LobeyDosser1) August 14, 2013
You have to target Sesame Street. Infidels are useless if they can't count #اقتراحك_لتطوير_اﻹعلام_الجهادي— Jon Turbett (@Turbro87) August 14, 2013
What about a remake of that Wham classic? #اقتراحك_لتطوير_الإعلام_الجهادي Blow me up before you go go?— Michael (@magic_mick_) August 14, 2013
#اقتراحك_لتطوير_الإعلام_الجهادي Try photobombing instead— John Stub (@PapaPigeon) August 14, 2013
Ayman al-Zawahiri issues an open challenge to the Undertaker to face him at Summerslam #اقتراحك_لتطوير_اﻹعلام_الجهادي— Brandon Wilder (@spankthemoney) August 14, 2013
Two words followed by one exclamation point: JIHAD JEANS! | | | #اقتراحك_لتطوير_اﻹعلام_الجهادي |— Mike Doran (@Doranimated) August 13, 2013
Helped along by an article on Buzzfeed entitled How To Successfully Ruin Al-Qaeda’s Day On Twitter, the trolling quickly blew up across the entirety of Twitter, with thousands joining in.
Berger seemed delighted with the results of his stunt, tweeting:
Also, just my 2 cents as I watch this go wide: Really effective trolling is witty and pointed, not abusive or proselytizing.— J.M. Berger (@intelwire) August 14, 2013
At the time of writing, Berger is still alive and well, despite receiving a number of tweets with threats like "may Allah destroy you you filthy Kaafir" [sic]. ®