Meet Steve - his full name’s Steve Leyland but you can tell by this image that this is a man who’d want to know you on a first name basis. Steve is the sort of man who’d take you for a drink (he’s even wearing a Foster's-branded fleece jacket, so you know he loves a good unfussy pub) to listen to your chatter, chuckle at your jokes then regale you with a tale of his own. Steve runs a family business selling flowers to the people of Wilmslow, Cheshire. Steve is also now a major target of the international jihadist terror group known as ISIS.
That’s right: despite “not knowing any jihadis”, this loveable market trader has become the unlikely target of death threats after a photograph of him was used in the terror group’s propaganda magazine Rumiyah.
Taken from his website (Stevetheflowerman.co.uk, do give it a visit), the image of Steve, 64, grinning outside his flower stall was pasted alongside a caption in the magazine urging fanatical supporters to take “the blood of a merry Crusader citizen selling flowers to passer-by".
Of hearing his image had been used as a bullseye for bloodshed in the western world, Steve admitted it came as “a bit of a shock”. You can say that again, Steve.
Speaking to The Times, he added: When I was first contacted I thought it was a wind-up. I really don’t know what to do.”
We’ve no idea what grudge they could possibly harbour against flower sellers, but we’re glad to know Steve remained defiant, telling the newspaper, "I’m not scared but I am concerned that the photo is in this magazine. I don’t know any jihadis."
Of course with any luck, Steve’s inclusion in the magazine might have been the group's downfall. One glance of that smiling, carefree face and we’d bet even the most hardened Daesh recruit would think twice about waging war against geranium sellers.
[Via: The Times]