WASHINGTON, DC / ACCESSWIRE / October 23, 2020 / The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) released a study on 'Jihadis' Theological Perception Of The Coronavirus Pandemic: A Review of Terror Organizations' Responses To COVID-19 And The Resulting Security Implications' by MEMRI Executive Director Steven Stalinsky and the Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) and Cyber & Jihad Lab (CJL) teams, with a foreword by MEMRI Vice President Amb. Alberto M. Fernandez.
This in-depth report documents all major official releases by leading jihadi groups, as well as chatter by their followers, both in the West and worldwide. It highlights discussions of emerging potential areas of threat, and how the pandemic is inspiring increased jihad activity. And, as the virus impacts terrorist activity and movements on the ground, it highlights implications for the future of global jihad.
It also focuses on the pandemic's impact on jihadi groups' operations and activity on the ground. In the past few days, for example, the Syria Salvation Government - the Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham-backed body that governs Syria's rebel-controlled Idlib region - announced that due to the spike in local coronavirus cases it was shutting down all wedding halls, sports facilities, public pools, and restaurants, as well as bazaars and open-air markets selling live poultry. The next day, it issued an advisory to citizens to wear masks, practice social distancing, and self-quarantine if they come down with it or if they have contact with anyone who has it.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, jihadi groups and individuals have been closely following it. The MEMRI JTTM and CJL teams have been carrying out up-to-the-minute monitoring of these developments 24/7 since jihadis' earliest mentions of the coronavirus - earlier than any other organization - as evidenced by Mr. Stalinsky's April 5 Wall Street Journal op-ed 'What Jihadists Are Saying About the Coronavirus.'
In the op-ed, Mr. Stalinsky, who was the report's main author and researcher, wrote about the importance of counterterrorism officials monitoring jihadi communications, concluding: 'As the world fights Covid-19, the jihadists continue to look for vulnerabilities to exploit. In the March 19 issue of [its weekly] al Naba, ISIS warned that jihadists won't hesitate to take advantage of the chaos, and that the 'financial losses of the Crusaders and tyrants' - Americans and their Arab allies - and that 'their preoccupation with protecting their countries from themselves and their other enemies' will contribute greatly to 'weakening their capabilities to fight the mujahedeen.' Let's disappoint them.'
As the second phase of the pandemic begins, MEMRI continues to share its findings with counterterrorism officials in the U.S. and worldwide who are focusing on threats by these groups.
Amb. Fernandez, in his foreword to the report, emphasized the significance of this study:
'In the long term, the pandemic may be of great and decisive benefit to the global jihad. These groups have made, and will continue to make, short-term tactical decisions to use this crisis to their benefit, as is richly documented in this extensive report.'
He concluded: 'It is my hope that the Middle East Media Research Institute's important historical review of the coronavirus pandemic's impact on global jihad will encourage us to look more deeply at both short-term vulnerabilities and the long-term threat arising from this unique combination of health emergency, economic collapse, and the siren song of chiliastic revolution. This report should be read by relevant government officials of every stripe, and by academia, in the U.S. and abroad.'
To date, this is the most comprehensive report of never-before-seen translated jihadi content from online platforms on the coronavirus pandemic. It will assist U.S. authorities and their Western allies, as well as media and academia, in understanding its potential short-term and long-term impact in the global jihad.
Exploring the Middle East and South Asia through their media, (MEMRI) bridges the language gap between the West and the Middle East and South Asia, providing timely translations of Arabic, Farsi, Urdu-Pashtu, Dari, Russian and Turkish media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends.
Founded in February 1998 to inform the debate over U.S. policy in the Middle East, (MEMRI) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization. MEMRI's main office is located in Washington, DC, with branch offices in various world capitals. MEMRI research is translated into English, French, Polish, Japanese, Spanish and Hebrew.
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The MEMRI Jihad & Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) - www.memri.org/jttm
The MEMRI Cyber & Jihad Lab (CJL) - www.memri.org/cjlab
SOURCE: Middle East Media Research Institute
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