New Delhi: After the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic earlier this week, authorities and governments all over the world are scrambling to take adequate measures against the disease. So are terrorist organisations, it seems.
In the latest issue of its weekly newsletter ‘al-Naba’, terror outfit Islamic State issued “Shari’i directives” to jihadists on how to deal with the outbreak that has killed nearly 5,000 people and infected more than 1.38 lakh.
The advisory includes tips like washing hands, covering one’s mouth, and also a travel ban.
ISIS pores over religious texts. Comes out in favor of putting your trust in God but also in favor of quarantine, hand-washing & running from the sick like from a lion. Their rivals in Qom stopped after No. 1. Thx to @ajaltamimi for his translation https://t.co/b08Jffvj6t
— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) March 13, 2020
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, a British specialist on the Islamic State of Iraq, translated the newsletter which warned that “illnesses do not strike by themselves but by the command and decree of God”. Invoking religious texts, the newsletter stated that God has mercy for its believers, and that one could seek refuge in God in case of illness.
Newsletter on coronavirus
The newsletter stated that followers had the obligation of both protecting themselves from illness and avoiding them — “flee from the one afflicted with leprosy as you flee from the lion”.
More practical tips included instructions such as making sure one covers their mouth while yawning and sneezing and washing their hands before “dipping them into vessels”.
It elaborated that even if one wakes up in the middle of the night to fetch water, they must wash their hands upto three times first, since one “does not know where his hand spent the night”.
It also issued a travel ban, advising followers from not entering “the land of the epidemic” while also telling those who might be affected by the disease to not exit the countries they are currently in.
There have been a total of 79 confirmed coronavirus cases in Iraq, but no reported cases in Syria where the Islamic State has a strong presence. However, widespread fear will likely spread if the infection reaches the country which has a troubled healthcare system and thousands in refugee camps.
Within the Middle East, Iran is the worst-hit with around 9,000 people infected and 354 deaths.