No, this refugee is not a terrorist for Isis

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Tuesday 08 September 2015 13:40

Two images - one of a man holding an assault rifle and army fatigues, accompanied by another showing him in civilian clothes at a border crossing - have been shared on social media this week.

A caption on one prominent post on Facebook reads: "Remember this guy? Posing in ISIS photos last year - now he's a 'refugee'. Are we suckers or what!"

Since being published last Thursday, the post has received more than 70,000 shares, 7,000 likes and 2,500 comments - many of which criticise the government's decision to welcome 20,000 refugees and others which are downright Islamophobic.

Sadly for Peter Lee Goodchild, who posted the picture, his caption is complete and utter nonsense. Like all good viral memes, suspicions should immediately be raised by the complete lack of source or attribution to the images.

As BBC Trending reports, the photo actually shows former Free Syrian Army commander Laith al-Saleh, 30, who fought against Isis near his hometown of Aleppo.

The pair of photos are first thought to have appeared on the Atlantic last month after Saleh featured in an Associated Press profile from Kos.

In the interview with AP last month, he said: "Everyone wants to leave Syria. My (home) is the most dangerous city in the world. About 70 per cent of the city is destroyed... In Syria, al-Qaeda want me, Isis, the government — I fought them all. I don't care. Some people are afraid. I'm not."

While there is a threat that genuine terrorists could be using trafficking routes to sneak their way back into Europe disguised as refugees, this man isn't one of them.

There is lot of misinformation spread online - particularly around the refugee crisis and the war in Syria - a lot of it is sadly aimed at stoking fear and community tensions.

Don't believe everything you read on social media...

More: Why Britain's refugee promise is futile, in one image