The holy month of Ramadan began last Friday, and for most Muslims, it is a time for retrospection, charity and sawm (fasting) to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Mohammad.
But for jihadist terror groups such as the so-called Islamic State (I.S.) and al-Qaida, which have hijacked Islam and the 30-day observance of the ninth month of the Muslim calendar for their own sinister agendas, it is just another excuse to seduce young extremist followers into suicide bombings and other terror assaults on innocent civilians.
Last year, I.S. called on its hordes of socially disenfranchised and emotionally hoodwinked sycophants to “go out in a blaze of glory” as they ended their lives killing and maiming “infidels” in atrocious and unholy acts of mass murder.
And, unfortunately, dozens of deluded followers of the perverse terror group heeded I.S.’ pernicious call, leading to a spate of relentless and almost-daily attacks across three continents.
Between June 5 and July 5 (the period during which Ramadan fell in 2016), there were attacks in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States and Yemen, resulting in 421 dead and at least 729 seriously injured.
All of these gruesome acts were linked to the Islamic State or one of its nefarious offshoots such as al-Shabaab.
This year’s Ramadan-inspired spike in terrorist acts began in Baghdad on Monday evening, when a bomb exploded in a popular ice cream parlor, killing at least 10 people as observant families gathered to break their daily fast, followed by a series of bombings on Tuesday resulting in at least 31 deaths.
The Islamic State has proudly claimed responsibility for the senseless crimes.
Seeing the “success” that I.S. had last year in exploiting Ramadan to convince its lackeys to murder in the name of Allah, the newly reenergized al-Qaida (led now by the petulant prodigal son of Osama bin Laden, Hamza bin Laden, who is hell-bent on reclaiming the title of most odious terror group on Earth from the Islamic State) has borrowed a page from its abhorrent adversary, inciting its followers “to use whatever weapon they have at their disposal” to kill Jews, Americans, Europeans and pro-Western Muslims as a “religious sacrifice” during the holy month.
“It is not necessary that the weapon be a military tool,” Hamza said in a May 13 recording, calling on his acolytes to wage a war in defense of a misguided vision of Islam during Ramadan through the slaughtering of unarmed men, women and children.
“If you are able to pick a firearm, well and good; if not, the options are many.”
Clearly, the young Bin Laden is ready to use the holy month of Ramadan to launch a sick and bloody competition between al-Qaida and the Islamic State to see who can kill the most innocent people in a 30-day period of brutal murder and mayhem.
Thérèse Margolis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.