“Allahu Akbar” is a common phrase used nearly daily for many of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims.
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.
“Allahu Akbar” is *not* an “#ISIS chant.”— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) November 14, 2019
And Mustafa Bali knows it’s not - but throwing out such Islamophobic accusations feeds a powerful (& innacurate) line of propaganda that many in the West will swallow-up willingly. #Syria https://t.co/YZ96bHKWvz
"ISIS chants"— Israa | ﮼إسراء (@IsraHazel) November 14, 2019
Or better known as "Allahu Akbar", which is what I say five times a day when praying as a Muslim. Good marketing skills though because the targeted audience will eat this up faster than you'd anticipate and it's easier to pass SNA as scary ISIS than Turkish proxies https://t.co/qlGxJA4A76
these SDF and YPG ppl regularly contradict by their own actions their rhetoric about being a benign inclusive pluralistic group. astroturf twits with a fairly open ethnosectarian bias (and also, not incidentally, a very clear hatred for the same Islam that most Kurds practice) https://t.co/iJH9VUv740— Ibrahim Abdurrahman (@SyedIbrahim1137) November 14, 2019
It was only a matter of time before some in the SDF let the mask slip before descending into full-blown Islamophobic sectarianism. Here their official spokesperson calls ‘Allahu Akbar’ an “ISIS chant” https://t.co/EwhpFGnYTc— Oz Katerji (@OzKaterji) November 15, 2019
One Twitter user mocked the notion and said it would make watching sports in the Arab world a scary prospect.
If you ever go to a football game in the Middle East you're going to be terrified every time a goal's scored - all those "ISIS chants" of Allah Akbar (eUrMaGeUrd, Mo Salah the Liverpool FC footballer must be ISIS 😱😂)— Ruth R (@NippySweetyLass) November 14, 2019
Most users seem to agree that the tweet was Islamophobic.
Acting like an islamophobic won't get you anywhere. Allah Akbar is used in the region by Christians as well. It simply means God is Great in Arabic.— Farouk Belal (@BeFarouk) November 14, 2019
In Syrian war, all parts was saying "Allhu Akbar" after achieving any victory, even Assad regime fighters. Many Arabic and Islamic countries use this shout. Are all of them ISIS?— Monjed Al-Tarifi (@eetarifi) November 14, 2019
LOL @ Mustafa Bali blocking everyone that called him out on the stupid and incorrect use of the phrase "ISIS chants" https://t.co/9cAQHOLpOE— Hasan Mustafa (@HasanMustafaS) November 14, 2019