Tom Harper, London Times, March 15, 2020
The Isis terrorist group is steering clear of Europe because of the coronavirus. Having previously urged its supporters to attack European cities, the group is now advising members to “stay away from the land of the epidemic” in case they become infected.
The group has issued a new set of “sharia directives” that instruct followers to “cover their mouths when yawning and sneezing” and to wash their hands regularly. Isis militants have plenty of experience in covering their faces, though previously they did so to hide their identities when beheading hostages on camera.
In the latest issue of its al-Naba newsletter, the group refers not to guidance from the World Health Organisation or other medical experts, but to recorded quotes by the Prophet Muhammad, known to Muslims as hadiths.
The newsletter refers to a “plague” described as a “torment sent by God on whomsoever He wills”. Another message notes: “Illnesses do not strike by themselves but by the command and decree of God.”
Isis has lost almost all its so-called caliphate in the Middle East after a string of defeats , but its fragmented remains are still active in Iraq and Syria.
The newsletter warned that the “healthy should not enter the land of the epidemic and the afflicted should not exit from it”.
But it may not be safe in the Middle East either — Iraq has already reported 101 cases of the coronavirus and 10 deaths.