Speed Reads

The Banality of ISIS

British news channel outs ISIS social media guru as Indian marketing executive

The Twitter account of Shami Witness, one of the most influential and widely followed Islamic State social-media boosters and propagandists, went silent after Britain's Channel 4 News uncovered his identity, according to Channel 4 News.

The man behind the Twitter account — Channel 4 uses only the name Mehdi, because he says using his real name would put his life in danger — is a marketing executive at an Indian conglomerate in Bangalore; he isn't personally fighting in Syria or Iraq, he says, because he has family obligations.

"If I had a chance to leave everything and join them I might have," Mehdi told Channel 4. "My family needs me here," especially his parents. And he says that while he supports ISIS and most of their methods, including beheadings, he's not responsible for sending some of his 18,000 Twitter followers to battle. "Just because somebody follows me, that doesn't mean I am the reason for their moving to ISIS." Watch Channel 4's report below. --Peter Weber