‘A constructive challenge: save water, burn your enemy's flag.’ Lebanese people are shunning buckets of water and using fire to burn ISIS flags
The latest social media craze to take Lebanon by storm is not pouring buckets of ice over your own head, nor rubble, but burning Islamic State flags and posting the videos or photos online. According to Mother Jones, the trend started when three Lebanese men burned the Islamic State flag in a town square in Beirut, a reaction to the beheading of a Lebanese officer and the kidnap of around 20 Lebanese officers by the jihadi group. The men then posted their protest online and encouraged others to follow suit. Quickly, the campaign spread with the hashtag #BurnISISFlagChallenge.
The black ISIS flag bears the Muslim creed "there is no god but God and Muhammed is his prophet", something that could land the campaigners in trouble. In Lebanon, the burning of religious flags is strictly forbidden - some government officials have called for the three men that kickstarted the movement to be hit with severe punishment under sacrilege laws. However, one high ranking member of the Lebanese parliament has offered to represent the protesters should the case reach court.
At the beginning of August, ISIS fighters arrived in Lebanon and attempted to seize Arsal, a town on the Syrian border. This week, the caliphate made global headlines once more when they gruesomely beheaded the American journalist Steven Sotloff, the second US citizen to be murdered by ISIS after the death of James Foley. Both men were brave journalists who carried out important work – read some of Sotloff's work here.