In the thick of the Coronavirus outbreak, the United Nations (UN) raised concerns over the far-reaching implications of the health crisis. In a statement, the UN warned of the possible upsurge by terrorists and terror groups. Reminding of the looming threat that terrorism poses, the UN further alerted of the possibility of a bioterrorist attack. In addition, the international body said that the crisis has hindered international, regional and national conflict resolution efforts when it was the most necessary.
"The threat of terrorism remains alive. Terrorist groups may see a window of opportunity to strike while the attention of most governments is turned towards the pandemic. The situation in the Sahel, where people face the double scourge of the virus and escalating terrorism, is of particular concern," the UN said.
Both the Islamic State group and Al-Qaida see the coronavirus as a threat, but some of their fighters also see the upheaval from the pandemic as an opportunity to win over more supporters and strike harder than before. Messages from the Islamic extremist groups show concern about the virus mixed with bravado, asserting that it is punishment for non-Muslims while also urging followers to repent and take care of themselves.
Al Qaeda in a statement asked non-Muslims to use their time in quarantine to learn about Islam. But in a sharp commentary in its Al-Naba newsletter in mid-March, IS urged followers to show no mercy and launch attacks in this time of crisis. Both Al Qaeda and ISIS in their propaganda magazines have claimed that the Coronavirus is a result of god's wrath on the West. The Coronavirus recorded 1,603,428 cases on April 10 morning, 95,714 deaths and 356,440 recoveries.
Through its directive, the Taliban urged people to pray, and surprisingly, asked its fighters to follow the safety guidelines issued by health organisations and experts. "Coronavirus is a disease ordained by the almighty perhaps been sent because of the disobedience and sins of mankind or other reasons," the Taliban remarked. Further adding, "As per the directives of scholars- people should recite effective prayers."
Through its weekly, the ISIS asked its fighters to "stay away from the land of the epidemic," with Europe being the epicenter of Coronavirus. Apart from urging its fighters to wash their hands, further elaborating, ISIS asked them to do so even if one wakes up in the middle of the night as one "does not know where his hand spent the night." "Cover their mouths when yawning and sneezing," the ISIS advisory added.
(With AP inputs)