Activist group “Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered” (RBSS) is reporting that citizen journalist Ruqia Hassani, who wrote under the pen name Nissan Ibrahim, has been executed by the militant group ISIS.
While this would indicate significant levels of local support for the militant group, many who had been resident within the town itself were dismayed. Some fled the area, but others opted to stay and resist the extremists in any way they could. Ruqia Hassani was one of these brave souls. Twitter, as well as other social media platforms, are a key tool in the dissemination of ISIS propaganda. Citizen journalists like Ruqia made use of the fact that the occupiers of her city were thus unable to completely cut the city off from the internet.
Ruqia’s reporting was not only functional — she had gained quite a following due to her wry sense of humor, as well. When ISIS outlawed public wifi hotspots in the city, she posted on Facebook in response to the ban. “Go ahead and cut off our internet, our messenger pigeons won’t complain.” Because of the confusion surrounding Raqqa, Ruqia Hassani was frequently mistaken for a member of activist group RBSS, who conduct similar acts of civil disobedience through citizen reporting. Abu Mohammed, the war name used by a prominent RBSS reporter, was at pains to point out that Ruqia was completely independent, even as he posted tributes to her bravery on Twitter. Abu Mohammed also posted her reported last words.