The Islamic State has published a list containing the names and addresses of thousands of churches in the United States, Canada, France, and the Netherlands, encouraging followers to attack them during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season.
Vocativ reports the list came from a user on an ISIS-linked channel called “Secrets of Jihadis” on the secure messaging site Telegram. Other posts on this channel have included instructions for making explosives and carrying out massacres.
The list of churches was accompanied by a message urging the “sons of Islam” to target them for terrorist attacks, along with “well-known hotels, crowded coffee shops, streets, markets and public places.”
Another user announced ISIS plans to hold “bloody celebrations in the Christian New Year” at the targeted churches.
“Turn the Christian New Year into a bloody horror movie, that will force [the infidels] to hide inside their burrows during their holidays and regret for the participation of their countries in the war against The Islamic State,” members of the “Secrets of Jihadis” group were told.
Of course, the names and addresses of churches are not secret, so compiling the list was not a difficult exercise; the message it sends is more important than the data, especially in the wake of Berlin’s Christmas Market massacre.
This is not the first time ISIS-linked groups have used a list of churches to create menacing propaganda. In July, a list of about 15,000 people associated with churches and synagogues in Texas, New York, California, and Florida was circulated on social media by the terror group, along with exhortations for “sleeper cells or lone wolves” to murder them. The FBI contacted many of the people on this list to warn them of possible danger.