World

Lebanon Teens' 'Ice Bucket Challenge'? Burn ISIS Flags

While #BurnISISFlagChallenge is trending on social media, some worry the protest is simply another form of hate or attention for the militant group.

Lebanon Teens' 'Ice Bucket Challenge'? Burn ISIS Flags
YouTube / BURN ISIS
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It's become a symbol of what world leaders, the American public and news media now largely consider one of the most brutal and well-financed terrorist groups in the Middle East — ISIS.

Now, a small group of Lebanese teens has people around the world burning the ISIS flag and posting the video online in what many are calling an ice bucket challenge-like protest of the group.

It started Saturday when the three teens burned an ISIS flag in Beirut in protest of the militant group's alleged beheading of a Lebanese military officer.

Around that same time, a Twitter handle named BURNISIS tweeted the message, "I NOMINATE THE WHOLE WORLD TO THE #BurnISISFlagChallenge . YOU HAVE 24 HOURS. GO!!!" It also posted this 22-second-long video to YouTube using a lighter to set the flag on fire.

ISIS, which now calls itself the Islamic State, is the militant group now controlling large areas of Syria and northern Iraq. It's known for brutal executions and implementing a strict form of Sharia law. (Video via VICE)

But as much as sending a message to the group might feel like a small form of protest for some, others worry the now viral social media campaign will do more harm than good. (Video via YouTube / utcdgto cddfvj)

After all, ISIS has reveled in the attention it's receiving for its atrocities in Syria and Iraq, which they film and distribute as a both a form of intimidation over the people they control and a recruiting tool for new members. (Video via Journeyman Pictures)

The Arabic writing on the flag is also the Muslim declaration of faith, reading, “There is no god but God and Muhammad is his Prophet.” While few leaders argue ISIS is a religiously moral group, some say burning the declaration is still wrong.

When Lebanon's justice minister called for the prosecution of the three teens, an attorney immediately stepped up to say he'd represent them and another politician said, “The youths who burned the ISIS flag did not mean to insult the Islamic religion. This flag does not represent Islam in the slightest.”

On social media, the hashtag #BurnISISFlagChallenge now has countless posts, but reactions predictably varied.

One Twitter user wrote, "For those who complain about #BurnISISFlagChallenge, I understand. But u kno what's more insulting to Allah & Prophet? Killing in their name."

Another wrote, "I strongly disagree with #BurnISISFlagChallenge it is a symbol of hatred and solves nothing."