How I was mistaken for Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – and why it breaks my heart


On 26 December, I reported the latest speech by Islamic State (Isis) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Twitter. A Russian media outlet made the incredible mistake of reporting that I was him, and that caught on in several more papers. Before the end of the week, even Twitter briefly blocked me before realising its mistake.

But as well as being incredibly sloppy journalism, it’s quite poignant that I was confused with the IS (Daesh) chief, seeing how the two “Baghdadis” are ideological competitors. I am an Arab Spring activist who campaigns for an Arab world in which human rights are inviolable; he is the theocratic leader of a terrorist organisation pretending to be an Islamic State.

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