#BurnISISFlagChallenge Is Being Called the “Ice Bucket Challenge” of the Arab World
The ice bucket challenge has been a way to spread awareness that was both fun and viral about a terrible disease. So it was only a matter of time before a new viral “challenge” hit the scene. However this latest one is meant to raise awareness about a disease not of the mind or body, but of spirit and country.
A video has gone viral from the YouTube account “BURN ISIS,” that is just the kind of response many on the right have been clamoring for from Muslims. The video is silent and a hand holds a picture of the ISIS flag, which he lights on fire. The description reads “I nominate the whole world to the #BurnISISFlagChallenge. You have 24 hours. GO!!”
The response on the video has been mostly positive, with many people tweeting and sharing their own photos and videos of the flaming ISIS flag.
— Reine (@ReineWW) September 4, 2014
For some Muslims, however, the burning of the ISIS flag is controversial. Not because they support the terror group but because printed on the flag in Arabic is “Allah,” which some see as an affront to Islam if burned.
Yet, other Muslims have responded saying that the actions of ISIS are the true affront to their religion and their faith.
For those who complain about #BurnISISFlagChallenge, I understand. But u kno what’s more insulting to Allah & Prophet? Killing in their name
— American مسلم ☪ (@Muslims_USA) September 5, 2014
Burning a flag may seem like a trivial statement in light of the way in which ISIS has murdered its way across two countries and beheaded journalists while making demands they know the U.S. will never even consider.
Yet, in the Arabic world free expression is not the sacrosanct right that it is here. While it may not seem like much when ISIS militants are seemingly burning the world behind them, making even a statement this small takes incredible courage.
The trend started in Lebanon and, according to a report from Asharaq Al-Awsat, Lebanese justice minister Ashraf Rifi has called for the “sternest punishments” for the flag burners, specifically because of the religious writing on the ISIS flag. Yet, many in the Lebanese government are showing support, with Minister of Employment Sejaan Qazzi saying “What is needed is not the burning of the ISIS flag, but the burning if ISIS itself.
Image via screengrab