In propaganda communiques this week, ISIS and al-Qaeda have each claimed that the highly contagious and deadly coronavirus is God's wrath upon the West, and the disease itself is a "soldier of Allah," as one ISIS supporter recently said in an online chatroom, according to the private SITE Intelligence Group.
"Allah, the Creator, has revealed the brittleness and vulnerability of your material strength. It is now clear for all to see that it was but a deception that could not stand the test of the smallest soldier of God on the face of the earth," al-Qaeda said in a statement this week distributed by its propaganda arm As-Sahab.
COVID-19 has killed more than 47,000
people worldwide but there are relatively few cases in regions
where Islamist extremist groups have their strongholds, such as in
Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Arabian Peninsula and the Sahel region of
ISIS on Tuesday in its official online publication al-Naba said the pandemic's impact -- it has killed more Americans as of this week than the nearly 3,000 who died in al-Qaeda's 9/11 attacks -- shows that America isn't all-powerful and invincible.
falsehood to worship America and to fear it instead of Allah the
Almighty," ISIS said in its message.
Terrorism experts point out that we have heard all of this before. Jihadi groups have a propensity for calling any natural disaster the will of God exacting vengeance on western powers who have been waging war on them for more than two decades.
"This is apocalyptic fervor. It plays into their end-of-times rhetoric," Col. Chris Costa, a retired Army intelligence officer whose career focused on jihadist adversaries, told ABC News. "They are opportunistic and taking advantage of a pandemic by suggesting this is divine retribution. If they can't beat us on the battlefield they can beat us through God's vengeance, they believe."
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