Is Ramzan a time for terror? Most deplorably to Muslims, that's what jihadis think

While the numbers don't prove that terrorist attacks happen only during Ramzan, but over the years, such attacks have been increasing.

FP Staff July 05, 2016 14:56:31 IST
Is Ramzan a time for terror? Most deplorably to Muslims, that's what jihadis think

In the past few days, there have been a number of gruesome terrorist attacks. Security experts have long described how, there could be higher instances of jihadi attacks around Ramzan. According to The Washington Post, jihadist propagandists tell their followers that Ramzan was a "good time to kill people". A spokesperson for the Islamic State said in may that jihadists should make it "a month of pain for infidels everywhere", as quoted on the website.

Just a day after the brutal Dhaka hostage crisis that ended in with 20 people being killed, suicide bombers attacked Baghdad on Sunday killing 115 people. It was the deadliest terror attack in Iraq in a year and one of the worst single bombings in more than a decade of war and insurgency, and it fueled anger toward Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. At the height of the extremist group's power in 2014, IS had driven the government from control across nearly one-third of Iraqi territory.

Now, the militants are estimated to control only 14 percent, according to the prime minister's office. And on Monday, three suicide bombers struck in Saudi Arabia in an incidence of multiple attacks in the kingdom where the Islamic State group had previously launched deadly attacks. The latest explosion occurred at one of Islam's three holiest sites, the Prophet's Mosque in Medina in the kingdom's west where Mohammed is buried, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel reported. Other blasts occurred in the Red Sea city of Jeddah near the US consulate and in Shiite-dominated Qatif on the other side of the country. Four Saudi security personnel were killed and five others were wounded in a suicide bombing outside one of Islam's holiest sites, the Prophet's Mosque in Medina.

According to Institute for the Study of War's 2015 forecast, the Islamic State has plans to mark its anniversary, globally and in close succession. If the June-July attacks are anything to go by, the 2015 forecast is holding true for 2016 as well. "IS' leaders will likely encourage affiliates to plan actions clustered in time, perhaps on the anniversary of the caliphate declaration, so that they can be united in a common messaging framework," said the report. The report also suggested that for 2015, Islamic State could expand dramatically before the end of Ramzan to achieve maximum territorial claims. According to experts quoted in The Washington Post report, the the deliberate attempt to use Ramzan to further deplorable goals is one way that the Islamic State is justifying the killing of other Muslims — Shiites and Sunnis, whom they don't consider devout enough.

“In Islamic history, Ramadan is a reminder to Muslims of who they are, separating the faithful from the non-faithful...But what IS and Al Qaeda have done to great effect is to focus on the war spirit and offensive spirit rather than on the moral spirit,” Professor Gerges is quoted as saying in The Washington Post.

While the numbers don't prove that terrorist attacks happen only during Ramzan, but over the years, such attacks have been increasing. Take 2015 for example, on 26 June there were attacks in Lyon, France, Sousse and Kuwait and on 25 June in Kobani, Syria. This is in line with ISW report that Islamic State is looking to conduct cluster attacks on a global scale.

With inputs from AP

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