In an audiotape released on Saturday (May 21), ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani encourages ISIS members in the West to prepare to attack targets there during the month of Ramadan this summer. The tape was posted on Twitter. Al-Adnani acknowledges the existence of the coalition of nations determined to defeat ISIS but proclaims that ISIS will prevail in the end.
Throughout Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink anything during daylight hours, not even water. After sunset, they feast and can eat and drink as much as they want until the sun rises the next morning. The holy month of Ramadan is thought to fall on the time during which the Prophet Mohammed received the final portion of the Quran. Muslims are supposed to purify themselves during this time by means of self-denial (such as fasting and abstaining from smoking and sex), prayer, and volunteer work or donating to good causes.
ISIS, however, interprets the month of Ramadan to be a month dedicated to war against the infidels. Therefore, the calls for more attacks against Western targets. All non-Muslims and Muslims who do not agree with them are targeted. But there is special regard for murdering Christians, to whom they refer as Crusaders.
ISIS is trying to re-establish the Caliphate across the entire globe. They believe that the entire world should be one nation, without the countries the Western World recognizes. The only legal system that is legitimate in their eyes is Sharia. The month of Ramadan seems to them the perfect time to dedicate to increased efforts to attack Western targets through terrorism. The self-denial of Ramadan can be interpreted to mean self-sacrifice through martyrdom or suicide missions. Such attacks are held in high esteem.
Maajid Nawaz, a British-born Muslim of Pakistani parentage, explained to BBC News last year why ISIS calls for more attacks during Ramadan. His words are still relevant today. First of all, the new Caliphate was declared in June 2014, and these terror attacks can be seen as honoring this anniversary. Secondly, ISIS leaders believe terrorist attacks during Ramadan commemorate famous battles fought during the festival by Mohammed and early Muslims.
Nawaz clearly states that there must be no hiding from the fact that ISIS bases itself on Islam and saying so is not prejudicial, but fact.
“It is very important for us to understand that there are two extremes in this debate. There are those who are trying to be polite, usually the left and liberal commentaria, who insist that these attacks have nothing to do with Islam and then there are those, usually anti-Muslim bigots, who say they have everything to do with Islam and then of course there are those in the middle who want to be careful, succumb to what I call the Voldemort effect, ‘He who must not be named,’ and we cannot name the true problem. I think the answer here that these attacks have something to do with Islam, they have something to do with foreign policy, they have something to do with identity, and grievances and underemployment. But what we cannot deny is that they also have something to do with the religion of Islam, my religion, itself. I call that something the ideology of Islamism.”
Nawaz claims that the fight against terrorist attacks is a fight against Islamism and not Islam.
It has been the world’s experience that when ISIS or other extremist Islamist groups promise terror, they are serious about delivering terror.
Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. Because their calendar is measured in lunar cycles, the months, and hence festivals, do not fall at the same time of year as happens in the Gregorian calendar. This year, Ramadan is from June 6 until July 7.
[Photo by Stefano Ember/AP Images]