Social media users are resorting to humor to describe stabbing attacks where the attacker shouts “Allahu Akbar,” but police say the motive is unknown.
How do you describe an attack in which a person shouts “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) before attacking someone? Especially if the police go on to say they do not know the motive?
Social media users fed up of the inability of mainstream media outlets and governmental organizations to label terrorist attacks motivated by the Islamist ideology have decided to term it #allahuakbarsyndrome.
The “syndrome” is described in mocking terms as a sudden-onset mental illness that is spreading throughout the world, seemingly with no underlying cause.
The hashtag was coined by anti-Islamist activist Sohail Ahmed, himself a former extremist. He created it to prompt awareness about the way in which we talk about these attacks in a humorous way that can be easily understood and shared.
He also enjoys a good joke.
Such banter has a serious purpose. It holds up our government to scrutiny and helps us focus on the essential question:
What does cause people to scream “Allahu Akbar” before plunging a knife into a perfect stranger?