With global casualties from the coronavirus pandemic crossing over 5,000, the whole world is now sitting up and acknowledging the pandemic as a global public health emergency. It's so bad, in fact, that even ISIS has started to spread messages of awareness to prevent the spread of the disease in an effort to protect terrorists affiliated with the outfit.
The terror outfit Islamic State recently published a coronavirus advisory in its al-Naba' newsletter in which it asked followers to maintain their faith in God but also gave practical advice to avoid catching COVID-19. Termed as the "Shari'i directives to deal with epidemics", the advisory contains advice like wearing a mask, practicing self-quarantine and fleeing from sick persons like one would flee a lion.
According to a translation of the advisory published by Britain-based IS expert Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi in a blog, followers have been asked to have faith in God to protect them from all diseases.
ISIS pores over religious texts. Comes out in favor of putting your trust in God but also in favor of quarantine, hand-washing & running from the sick like from a lion. Their rivals in Qom stopped after No. 1. Thx to @ajaltamimi for his translation https://t.co/b08Jffvj6t
— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) March 13, 2020
At the same time, the advisory mentions "the obligation of taking up the causes of protection from illnesses and avoiding them,".
It also asked followers to practice the "counsel that the healthy should not enter the land of the epidemic and the afflicted [/infected] should not exit from it". Meaning even the IS is now preaching social distance and self-quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus. Other points in the advisory include asking followers to cover their mouths when they yawn or sneeze, and to cover vessels and water containers with lids.
By way of a travel ban, IS also asked its followers including terrorists to not visit "the land of the epidemic", meaning not to travel to European countries for jihad. The advisory made its way to social media and many on Twitter have been marveling at the fact that even terror outfits like ISIS have started taking the pandemic seriously.
Pretty wild that ISIS has a more coherent and defensible response to #COVID19 than the White House does.
— Dan Holley (@Antifascist_Vet) March 13, 2020
I'm surprised the advice wasn't more along the lines of flying into an enemy country and coughing in public
— SiddLively (@SiddLively) March 13, 2020
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) March 15, 2020
— Geoffrey Maina Digital (@geoffreymainak) March 15, 2020
This is getting real, I mean, I thought they are not afraid of death, Jihad??!!
— Jeff_Kagiri (@jeeffafa_) March 13, 2020
Shit’s getting weird.
ISIS issues travel advisory to Europe. https://t.co/tLYo5PwFFg
— Moustafa Bayoumi (@BayoumiMoustafa) March 15, 2020
The advisory comes amid growing COVID-19 cases in the Middle East. While Syria has not reported any confirmed cases so far, Iraq reported a total of 79 confirmed cases. Among the countries in the Middle East that have been worst affected is Iran with over 600 deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic.