Over the past few days, a photo said to show one of the first passports issued by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the jihadist organisation that currently occupies a large swathe of Syria and Iraq, has been making the rounds on social media networks.
The green-coloured passport has “The Islamic Caliphate” written in Arabic across the top of the front cover. Below, it reads “We offer our armed support to the holder of this passport should he find himself in difficulty.”
The photo was widely shared on social media as well as published by online media sources in Lebanon, Iran and Tunisia. It was also used to back up rumours that ISIS was getting ready to issue 11,000 passports of the recently-proclaimed Caliphate.
Despite all that, neither the announcement supposedly made by ISIS nor the photo are real. The photo of the passport is in fact a crudely photoshopped image that was first published over a year ago: the oldest posting we were able to track down dates back to May 2013.
This photo was originally posted on May 7, 2013 with an ironic caption “We can’t wait for the Caliphate passport!”
An Arabic-language website based in Ankara, Turkey seems to have been the first to report the false information that ISIS was going to issue passports.
The news was refuted by sources at ISIS.
“All the rumours about a passport issued by #EL are false and go against what we are fighting for,” a member of the group told FRANCE 24 journalist Wassim Nasr.
The jihadists belonging to ISIS reject the notion of borders. Indeed, the Islamic Caliphate they hope to create would include territory currently covering parts of seven countries in the region. That would explain why they have actively destroyed border posts in areas under their control.