A series of terror attacks in run-up to the beginning of Ramadan could portend a difficult month ahead for terror at home and abroad, as past years have seen escalated or remarkable acts of violence during the Islamic holy month.
ISIS has issued formal calls for violence in past years, vowing that jihadists would receive extra reward in the afterlife for attacks during the Islamic holy month. In a 2017 Rumiyah magazine article calling on followers to “double your efforts and intensify your operations,” the terror group said, “Your targeting of the so-called innocents and civilians is beloved by us and the most effective, so go forth and may you get a great reward or martyrdom in Ramadan.”
Late ISIS chief spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, in exhorting followers in the West to conduct Ramadan attacks, told would-be jihadists, “The smallest action you do in the heart of their land is dearer to us than the largest action by us.” His imagery and quotes figure prominently in ISIS and ISIS supporters’ propaganda since his August 2016 death.
Ramadan begins at sundown this Tuesday for Muslim communities in the U.S. and Europe. It coincides with the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, with a formal ceremony on Monday; the establishment of the embassy has also elicited threats of violence from al-Qaeda and ISIS. Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri said in a five-minute video message Sunday that President Trump “was clear and explicit, and he revealed the true face of the modern crusade, where standing down and appeasement does not work with them, but only resistance through the call and jihad.”