A “lockdown special” edition of a magazine published by ISIS supporters encouraged steps to “annihilate the disbelievers” including stabbing people with scissors and expending “less effort” by spreading deadly coronavirus.
“The Voice of Hind,” an English-language magazine published and distributed online by ISIS supporters in India, published its fifth edition Monday and its fourth edition in May. Between those two releases, the authors released the 17-page “lockdown special” online, declaring on the cover featuring photos of surgical-masked individuals and a temperature check that “it’s time for kuffar [disbelievers] to fall.”
The first issue of “The Voice of Hind” was released in late February to coincide with President Trump’s visit to India.
The special edition declares that it’s now a “diseased world” in which ISIS supporters should “stay firm and ready to launch a severe attack on the enemies of Allah’s religion who are embroiled in a fight against the disease brought about by Allah’s rage against them.”
“COVID 19 has plagued the disbelievers and it is time to make it worse… believers can wreak havoc on disbelievers by spreading the disease among them so that they are forced to bow down before Allah’s rule before they are wiped out from the earth,” the article continues, adding that “every brother and sister, even children, can contribute to Allah’s cause by becoming the carriers of this disease and striking the colonies of the disbelievers, wherever they find them.” They claimed that “no disease can harm even a hair of a believer.”
The article continues for two more pages of trying to goad followers into spreading coronavirus, calling it “a weapon far greater than stones” and adding, “What better chance can you get to kill the disbelievers in multitudes than COVID 19?”
“They have hampered our efforts of establishing the Caliphate of Allah and now is the time to extract revenge,” the magazine states.
The issue reprints an Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi message from the late ISIS leader delivered in 2015, urging would-be jihadists to come join “the war of every Muslim in every place.”
The second-to-last page offers tips on ways to “annihilate the disbelievers” including keeping oneself “armed at all times to never miss a chance to kill as many Kuffar as you can. Even a knife can be a convenient object to keep with oneself.”
“Keep chains, ropes and wires ready to choke them or beat them to death,” the list continues. “Tools like scissors and hammers can come in useful to kill the Kuffar. Any sharp object like glass will kill easily. Any long cloth can be used to choke them to death.”
And, listed at No. 6, “Spread COVID virus among as many Kuffar as possible to take them down easily and with less effort.”
The second issue of “Voice of Hind,” released in March, encouraged attacks using simple weapons and tactics specifically targeting military and police officers who “have been deployed in their streets and alleys, thus making them an easy target” during the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic.
That issue also listed some ways to “annihilate the disbelievers,” including vehicle attacks, knife and ax attacks, arson, and poisoning food and drink.
ISIS stressed in a late March editorial on the coronavirus pandemic that countries’ security distraction in trying to control and respond to the spread of the virus left an opening for jihadists to exploit.
While countries have been “striving to reduce the likelihood of the mujahideen launching attacks,” said the full-page article in ISIS’ al-Naba newsletter, the coronavirus represents “additional pressure and burden” on governments including price hikes, product shortages and “a great retreat in the economy and incomes” that reduces the ability of governments to coordinate counterterrorism operations with one another and brings “fears that their other enemies will exploit this critical situation they are all going through in order to make gains at their expense.”
“The last thing they want,” ISIS continued, is for jihadists to be currently preparing new attacks “similar to the strikes of Paris, London, Brussels and other places.”
The terror group has followed the outbreak from the beginning of this year, regularly including updates in the news briefs section of the newsletter. “A new virus spreads death and terror in China,” al-Naba reported in January, adding that “communist China is panicking after a new virus has spread” and noting how Chinese officials discussed the discovery of person-to-person transmission as well as the lockdown of Wuhan. Al-Naba highlighted “growing concern about the spread of the infectious virus,” adding that “this could push the World Health Organization into an emergency.”
Around the same time, ISIS-supporting Quraysh Media, which has been active in its production of online propaganda posters, seized on the outbreak to produce and disseminate a poster with a grainy image of a person in a hazmat suit and respirator. “China: coronavirus,” the poster stated, adding, “A promise is a debt we must not forget.”
As the outbreak spread, perhaps mindful that the global reach of the new coronavirus could also pose a threat to their members or supporters, the Islamic State turned to criticizing the Chinese government for hiding the scope of coronavirus outbreak.