Covid-19 and Jihadist Terrorist Groups: Challenges or Opportunities?
Keywords:Terrorism, pandemic, Covid-19, “Islamic State”, Al-Qaeda
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world. Many organizations, as well as terrorist groups and terrorists, had to make necessary changes. Islamist organizations such as the so-called Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda published the special issues of their newspapers on the Covid-19 pandemic. Jihadist groups declared that Covid-19 was Allah’s arm to punish non-Muslims because of their oppressions against Muslims in the world.
As the Covid-19 pandemic widespread, terrorist organizations’ tactics were changed: Jihadist groups called their members to avoid themselves from traveling to Europe – so-called “the Land of Virus” and delay organizing the terrorist attacks for a better time to protect themselves from the virus. So the number of terrorist attacks in European countries decreased since the Covid-19 pandemic emerged. However, Jihadist groups managed to move to conflict zone countries to organize the terrorist attacks there. Before the pandemic, Jihadist terrorist organizations used the public areas to recruit more new members and gain popularity among youths. But lockdowns and closing the borders made this process difficult, and terrorist organizations stood in front of the new challenges. Also Covid-19 pandemic captured the media: since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the top news about terrorism or terrorist attacks were replaced by the news on Covid-19. But according to another opinion in academia, lockdowns created new areas for the activity of terrorist organizations. Such a new area was the Internet which became the best way during the pandemic period for recruitment and fundraising for terrorist organizations.
So the question arose: the new situation formed by the Covid-19 pandemic will be a challenge or a new opportunity for terrorist organizations and terrorist activities?