Attempting to lure more foreigners to the Syrian struggle, Islamist fighters are increasingly promoting the image of a “five-star jihad” on social media, urging Western volunteers to pack tablets and toiletries for the holy war.
“My afro is melting,” writes the Flickr user Abu Qa’qaa, whom the Telegraph has been following and who is believed to be a British jihadist in Syria.
Poor grooming could be a disaster for the modern-day jihadi because, according to Abu Qa’qaa, romance is in the air: “Lol there’s plenty of sisters her [sic]. Marriage is always on the go. We all want to get married here :).”
In comparison to the ascetic 1980s jihad in Afghanistan, sleeping quarters in Syria are provided with Internet connections, allowing fighters to chat to family members abroad and play online games.
According to Shiraz Maher, an analyst with the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London, it is an effective recruiting tool.
“Compared to the privations of living in Kandahar, these guys in Syria are tweeting pictures of KitKat bars and Red Bull drinks,” he said. “They know they are going to die, martyr themselves for jihad, but they are saying that on the way, you might as well ‘have a break, have a KitKat.’”
If only they could be persuaded by the overwhelming supply of KitKats and afro products back home.