Islamic terrorist groups this year continued to pervert the belief that rewards earned for noble acts are greater during Ramadan, telling their followers and supporters to embrace martyrdom and jihad because the holiest month for Muslims is a good time to kill so-called infidels.
This year, Muslims expect Ramadan to begin Thursday evening, making the first day of fasting on Friday as several Arab nations remain in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The sighting of the new moon in the next few days will dictate the start of the holy month.
As the Chinese coronavirus pandemic rages across the world, Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) supporters are urging jihadis to “exploit” coronavirus lockdowns to “carry out jihad” during Ramadan, the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi activity online, reported on Wednesday.
IS-Linked Account Urges Followers to Exploit COVID-19 Lockdown, Carry Out Jihad https://t.co/H8FR7taPKV
— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) April 22, 2020
Governments across the world have implemented quarantine measures affecting about half of the world’s population, including social distancing and the closing of “non-essential” businesses to stem the spread of the viral outbreak.
In the days leading to the start of Ramadan, jihadis also called on their supporters to carry out lone-wolf attacks against Westerners using vehicles and other crude weapons, SITE revealed on Tuesday.
Jihadist Recommends Lone Wolves Use Vehicles, Crude Weapons to Attack Westerners https://t.co/OBxlWvLNz1
— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) April 21, 2020
As Ramadan approaches, a pro-ISIS group also disseminated advice to jihadis and supporters to increase terror activity, SITE noted on Monday.
Thread: As #Ramadan nears, #ISIS-linked groups taking to their annual calls to increase attacks. Especially concerning in 2020, amid the global destabilization caused by #COVID19, for which ISIS & its supporters have already called for attacks in the Westhttps://t.co/wFthW4f27i
— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) April 20, 2020
That same day, the monitoring group revealed that jihadis online were praising the Chinese coronavirus illness (COVID-19) as “a justified punishment.”
Jihadi Publishing Unit Calls COVID-19 a "Justified Punishment," Urges Muslims Embrace Jihad https://t.co/q4RzUCkzHX
— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) April 20, 2020
On the eve of the holy month, a pro-al-Qaeda online outlet hailed the coronavirus outbreak as the “final nail in America’s coffin.”
Although there is usually a spike in jihadi attacks during the holy month, the ongoing pandemic may drive the terror fatalities down. However, the pandemic has reportedly hindered counterterrorism operations against ISIS, which could allow the fallen caliphate to rebuild.
Violence is entirely dissonant with Ramadan for the vast majority of the world’s Muslims who follow the tradition of abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking, having sex, and other physical needs each day, starting from before the break of dawn until sunset during the month of Ramadan.
A minority of Muslims, however, adhere to the belief that perceives Ramadan as a month of jihad and martyrdom.
For the last three years, Breitbart News has documented a wave of jihadi attacks during Ramadan encouraged by the likes of ISIS, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda.
During all three years, ISIS and the Afghan Taliban topped the list as the deadliest terrorist groups during the holy month.
In 2015, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) noted how jihadi groups exploit the notion that Ramadan is “a month in which Allah grants military victories to His believers,” adding:
Given the historic religious and military significance of Ramadan, Islamist and jihadi groups, and sometimes also mainstream Arab organizations and Arab media, escalate incitement to jihad and martyrdom during this month.
The commandment of jihad, which is of supreme importance at all times, assumes even greater importance during this holy month and gains precedence over all other commandments… On Ramadan, Allah grants fighters special strength, despite – or rather by virtue of – their fasting. Those who gain martyrdom during the month of Ramadan are doubly rewarded in Paradise.
This year, Ramadan is on a collision course with the raging coronavirus pandemic as clerics call on worshippers to fill up mosques, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency reported Tuesday, referring to the situation in Asia, home to about half of the world’s Muslims.
“Authorities have tried to limit the fallout during the sacred period of fasting, which starts Thursday, but in many cases, religious leaders have brushed aside concerns about activities that could spread COVID-19,” AFP noted.
While the coronavirus pandemic has triggered lockdowns across the world, with schools and non-essential businesses closed, mosques have largely stayed open in Asia.
“During Ramadan, mosques hold regular prayers and large ‘Iftar’ meals to break the fast at dusk, while families host feasts at home with relatives and friends,” AFP pointed out.