Islamic State Media Encourages Jihadis to Set Forest Fires in U.S. and Europe

Flames approach rolling hills of grape vines during the Kincade fire near Geyserville, California on October 24, 2019. - The fire broke out in spite of rolling blackouts by utility companies in both northern and Southern California. (Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP) (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Quraysh Media, a media organization that supports the Islamic State, is encouraging ISIS followers to start wildfires in the U.S. and Europe as a new way of “waging jihad.”

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) spotted four posters distributed by Quraysh Media since April containing the (literally) incendiary message to Islamic State devotees, or “monotheists” as Quraysh Media prefers to call them.

Two of the posters included images of American firefighters battling wildfires.

“Ignite fires in the forests of America, France, Britain and Germany, for they are painful to them,” instructed the fourth poster, which was released on Monday.

Various Western media outlets speculated the Islamic State was inspired by the rash of wildfires in California, although there seems to be no clear evidence of this. ISIS has been known to celebrate American deaths in previous wildfires, and has taken credit for setting crop fires in Syria and Iraq.

Quraysh Media is one of the more prominent Islamic State mouthpieces to question whether ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was truly killed by U.S. special forces in a late October raid. Quraysh generally refers to Baghdadi as if he were still alive.

In addition to touching base with its overseas supporters, the Islamic State has been busy convincing affiliated terrorist gangs to renew their oaths of fealty to the new ISIS leader, who works under the alias “Abu Ibrahim al-Hashini al-Qurashi.” His pseudonym, and the name of Quraysh Media, both refer to the tribe Islam’s prophet Mohammed came from.

ISIS media has been distributing photos of affiliated fighters reciting the bay’ah, the ritual oath of loyalty, to the new leadership. Prominent among the groups responding to the new leadership is IS-Khorasan, the dangerous and determined Islamic State branch in Afghanistan. With an estimated four to five thousand fighters, IS-Khorasan is considered one of the largest affiliates of the terrorist organization.

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