Jumanjihadi: What connects Robin Williams and the Islamic State?

Things got seriously weird today when the two (seemingly completely unrelated) biggest news stories of the day came together: Robin Williams and the Islamic State.

It started when Twitter accounts with jihadi leanings began tweeting denigratingly about the actor, who died aged 63 on Monday, due to a sketch he performed in 2002.

This spawned a conversation that could only really be feasible since the advent of Twitter- one between a self-described Islamist and a US army veteran.

A journalist working for the BBC then got in contact with the people behind the Twitter accounts, resulting in one of the most bizarre series of tweets ever seen.

A BBC spokesperson clarified the tweet in a statement emailed to i100.

These tweets were preliminary research for the BBC Trending blog, which highlights social media discussions, for a story idea which was later dropped. The death of Robin Williams had appeared to provoke exchanges among alleged jihadists about the merits of his films.

@mujahid4life, or Abdullah, a 19-year-old who says in his Twitter bio he is "loyal to the Caliphate, harsh on kuffar [a denigrating Arabic term for "disbeliever"]", took umbrage at the premise of the question.

Things got even more surreal from this point onwards.

This article seems funny but it makes a serious point.

The person behind the account, identified only as Abdullah, told me he was not based in Britain anymore and would enter the battlefield "when Allah wills".

He said the initial BuzzFeed story which indirectly described him as either an Islamist or a jihadi was "pretty fair".

Delve even slightly deeper into this Twitter profile, or the main accounts it interacts with and you will see some of the most horrific images to supposedly come out of the conflict raging across Iraq and Syria, including mutilated, headless corpses of the enemies of the Islamic State.

Overall what it serves to highlight is the uncomfortable paradox of being a jihadist in the 21st century, particularly one immersed in western culture.

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