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Ramzan a good time for killing: Islamic State

worldpaper Updated: Jul 05, 2016, 09:21 IST
The New York Times
The New York Times

BEIRUT: As the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramzan approached, jihadi propagandists told their followers that it was a good time to kill people.

The spokesman for the Islamic State said in late May that jihadis should “make it, with God’s permission, a month of pain for infidels everywhere.” Another extremist distributed a manual for using poisons, adding, in poor English: “Don’t forget Ramadan is close, the month of victories.”

A bloody month it has been, with terrorist attacks killing and wounding hundreds of people in Orlando, Florida; Istanbul; Dhaka, Bangladesh; and now Baghdad, where a bomb killed more than 200 people early on Sunday in a shopping area full of families who had just broken their Ramzan fasts.

For the vast majority of the world’s Muslims, violence is completely dissonant with the holy month, which, in addition to fasting, is a time for spiritual renewal, prayer and visits with friends and family.

It is widely believed that the rewards earned for noble acts are greater during Ramzan, which culminates in the E id holiday this week. Jihad is have perverted this belief to serve their own ends, analysts said.

In short: If one believes it is good to kill those who are considered infidels, all the better to do so during Ramzan.

“There is no doubt in my mind that al-Qaeda, its various affiliates, and now ISIS use Ramadan as a watershed, as a marker to inspire and motivate their followers and supporters worldwide,” said Fawaz A. Gerges, a professor at the London School of Economics who has written books on jihad.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for many of the attacks and is the prime suspect in others.

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