His legend in Iraq is growing on a nearly hourly basis. Known as Azrael, the Archangel of Death in Islam, this bearded massive militia fighter is basically public enemy number 1 for ISIS fighters.
His past, especially in the English speaking world, is murky at best. Some say he is a martial arts master turned militia fighter. Other say he was a university professor before the rise of the Islamic State.
Some rumors say he possesses supernatural fighting abilities.
Most interestingly, and despite how true the legends are, or are not, this man and the people supporting him are beating ISIS at their own game – public perception and social media. A Facebook page for the fighter has nearly 300,000 fans and features numerous photos of him looking every part the anti-ISIS enforcer. Some posts garner tens of thousands of likes.
أبوعزرائيل يصبّح عليكم أسد كتائب الإمام عليّ pic.twitter.com/C7LKDQ0tPF
— المجتهد ٦٦ (@hero_m_66_m) March 9, 2015
من هو أبو عزرائيل؟ * انهُ المدرس الجامعي الذي غادر قاعة الدرس ملبيا نداء الجهاد * ماجستير تربية رياضية. pic.twitter.com/m2Ta1dVmhS
— هموم العراق (@hand_carry) March 8, 2015