As the Sunni insurgent group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) takes hold of Iraq to hold mass executions and fuel sectarian violence, it feels as though the world is getting flashbacks of the initial American invasion of the country.
But now, we have social media to offer a fascinating and unexpected look at the conflict on the ground. Several ISIS members and affiliated jihadist fighters in Iraq and Syria have taken to Instagram and Twitter to post photos of their daily life. The casual use of filters and hashtags creates a jarring juxtaposition with the disturbing nature of these pictures. As strange as they may be, they offer insight into the life of the mujahideen — as well as their social media followers.
"I came over with a student visa. I wanted to study computers, but I couldn’t enroll in school until I could prove that I had money to pay the tuition. The first three weeks I slept on trains. I kept asking people where I could find the Senegalese community. Eventually I met a person who told me to go to Harlem because there was an African community there. In Harlem, I found an association for Senegalese people. And they had places to stay for people who were new. I did restaurant and cleaning jobs for a couple of years. Eventually I met my wife and became a citizen. And now I have a security job, so I can finally enroll in school."