Allahu Akbar is one of the most commonly used phrases by around 1.8 billion Muslims around the globe. It simply means “God is great” in Arabic, and since the advent of Islam it has had several various uses in daily life - during daily prayers, in moments of joy, excitement, or distress.
When YPG's communication person Mustafa Bali said it was a chant of Daesh, also known as ISIS, a lot of people, Muslims and non-Muslims, were taken aback.
“@realDonaldTrump claims the cease-fire is holding very well while there is literally an all-out offensive on Til Temir by Turkish-backed proxies. Evidence in the footage: ‘we cut the road to Til Temir and we are marching towards the town”, followed by ISIS [Daesh] chants,’” he said in a tweet that showed video of Turkish-backed Syrian forces chanting Allahu Akbar.
Syrian Democratic Forces is a YPG-dominated group founded in 2014 as part of the US’ efforts to rebrand YPG, the PKK’s Syrian branch. Both Turkey, the European Union and the US list PKK as a terror group.
Bali responded to the criticism by blocking several Twitter users and later saying that he doesn’t need a lecture on Arabic and people should keep their opinion to themselves.
Some people pointed out that painting the term as a terrorist chant was a cunning, yet offensive, propaganda ploy.
One Twitter user mocked the notion and said it would make watching sports in the Arab world a scary prospect.
Most users seem to agree that the tweet was Islamophobic.