As is the modern way, 19-year-old Mahdi Hassan doesn’t hold back when it comes to sharing details of his day-to-day life.
No matter that he is currently abroad, thanks to Twitter and the other social network sites he frequents, we know the former public schoolboy misses Coco Pops, Coronation Street, sliced bread and ‘that full-fat milk with the blue cover’.
And it does not stop there. Hassan is having such a great time on his travels that he has set up an online advice service to encourage others to join him.
‘Pack light. Most clothes can be found here, bring a spare charger with your phone, and to be honest there’s nothing that important you need to bring except good trainers,’ he writes.
Asked about electrical sockets — are they two or three-pin — he replies: ‘Two, but don’t get the USA 2 pin types, they’re different.’
When a girl says he looks like Zac Efron — ‘that guy from High School Musical’ — there is even time for a bit of flirting.
‘Yeah?,’ writes Hassan, who comes from Portsmouth, before modestly adding that ‘someone said that once but I don’t really see the resemblance.’
But read on and it quickly becomes clear that the advice being offered is less Lonely Planet and more like a Terrorists’ TripAdvisor.
There are details on how much it costs to buy an AK47 assault rifle for example — £1,000.
And instructions on whether or not to bring a knife: ‘Knives here aren’t that great but you can get by or possibly look around in Turkey if you have time.’
Then there are the ‘inspirational’ quotes: ‘History is being written. Do not be someone who watches or joins when the work is done. May the eyes of the cowards never sleep.’
Then the martial observations: ‘Insha’Allah Tabqa airbase will be ours within the next 48 hours.’
Because far from being some gap-year student on a round-the-world jolly, Hassan is a jihadist fighting in Syria for Islamic State (IS), the terror organisation wreaking bloody chaos across the Middle East.
And he is far from alone. Experts estimate 500 British Muslims are fighting in the region. Among them is 24-year-old London rapper, Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, whose music was once played on Radio 1.
As revealed in yesterday’s Mail, Bary is thought to be behind a Twitter account featuring sickening images of the carnage in Syria.
In one shot Bary, whose family live in a £1 million council flat in Maida Vale, West London, posed in a balaclava with a severed head and wrote: ‘Chillin’ with my other homie, or what’s left of him.’
The fear is that many more will follow the likes of Bary and Hassan, who are doing their best to paint a picture of a ‘five-star jihad’ where life is good, food is plentiful and the risks minimal. Of course, the reality could hardly be more different.
It is believed that 19 British jihadists have now been killed in Syria, with the death toll likely to rise as the fighting spreads across Iraq.
Like Hassan, two of those to have died came from Portsmouth, travelling to the Middle East via Turkey, a journey they were encouraged to make by others already out there.
‘The three top travel items that jihadists are saying are needed for Syria are toilet paper, a first-aid kit and an iPad,’ said Shiraz Maher, an analyst from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, who has been closely following the jihadists’ online activity.
‘What they are doing online is incredibly powerful as a recruiting tool because it creates a narrative in people’s minds that says: “You know that guy is just like me, he just did his A-levels, I just did mine, so if he can make it there, I can make it there.”
‘They are also suggesting they have better lives in Syria than they did in the UK, so why not go? They are accessible, they are normalised and they are humanised.’
Last weekend, news of the horrific fate facing tens of thousands of Yazidi men, women and children in northern Iraq was beamed across the world. Warned by IS that if they did not convert they would be slaughtered, this embattled ethnic group sought refuge on a mountain top in a last-ditch attempt to save themselves.
Responding to the impending humanitarian disaster, the Americans announced they would launch air strikes to break the siege. On the same day, Reyaad Khan, a 20-year-old from Cardiff, updated his Twitter feed with a couple of pictures. One showed a table laden with food — steaming plates of rice and stewed meat surrounded by yoghurt dips. He captioned it: ‘While the U.S. think they are causing havoc and damage to IS, we kick back & keep moving. #IS’
A second picture showed him posing in a supermarket with a giant jar of chocolate spread. Beneath it is written: ‘I was so terrified by the U.S. air strikes I had to buy myself Nutella to comfort my brittle heart.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2726407/Trip-Advisor-terrorists-Where-buy-Nutella-war-zone-kind-trainers-wear-feels-chop-infidels-heads-revealed-twisted-chatrooms.html#ixzz49i1gMxwX