(ISIS photo)

ISIS Tells Followers to Pray to Avoid Coronavirus, Slams China Over Outbreak Response

Perhaps mindful that the global reach of the new coronavirus could also pose a threat to their members or supporters, the Islamic State is now criticizing the Chinese government for hiding the scope of coronavirus outbreak.

And in another piece in the latest issue of their weekly official al-Naba newsletter, ISIS notes that while “many Muslims rushed to confirm that this epidemic is a punishment from God Almighty” for China’s widescale abuse of of the Uyghur population, “the world is interconnected” and transportation “would facilitate the transfer of diseases and epidemics.”

Muslims should “seek help from God Almighty to avoid illness and keep it away from their countries,” the terror group added.

Both articles, one in the news briefs section that has carried outbreak updates for the past few weeks, say that “the infidel government of China” is unable to cure or contain the virus, which has infected more than 40,000 people worldwide and killed more than 1,000. “The real numbers for the dead and the ill are many times what they announced,” the ISIS news brief said, adding that China was “claiming the recovery and discharge of some patients with the disease… to reassure people, and to reduce the catastrophic effects.”

The group that encourages bioterror as a means of sowing havoc tells followers that China has “incurred hundreds of billions of dollars of losses during the past days” due to the outbreak.

In the previous issue of al-Naba, when the death toll was at 132, ISIS reported that China was locking down affected areas in “desperate attempts to limit the spread of a deadly disease,” but it had already spread to several other countries — first in the list printed by the terror group was America.

ISIS has previously seized upon natural disasters as supposed proof that God is supporting them in targeting their adversaries, and also has used naturally occurring events in attack suggestions — impressing upon followers that if a natural calamity causes this much suffering, jihadists can bring about similar destruction using manmade methods.

ISIS-supporting Quraysh Media has been active in its production of online propaganda posters, and seized on the outbreak late last month 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.”

Terror groups have long encouraged or shown distinct curiosity in their communications about branching out into bio, agricultural or chemical attacks. ISIS supporters – while not claiming responsibility for sticking needles in fruit – used Australia’s 2018 strawberry contamination crisis to gin up more threats and suggestions, vowing to make westerners “check everything and anything you eat out of fear, horror and terror.”

ISIS included an update on the Australian wildfires in the most recent al-Naba issue, focusing on how fire threatened the capital city of Canberra last week.

Al-Faqir, one of the ISIS-backing media outlets, released a video in July 2018 discussing how to wage a bioattack on the West “that cannot be detected or tracked” by authorities. An Al-Taqwa Media Foundation poster distributed in December 2018 conspicuously was plastered with biohazard warning symbols, reading, “You have realized the danger of the Islamic State. But you did not know the treatment, and you will not know the treatment, because there is no treatment!”

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Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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