Risk of extremist attacks raised in the holy month of Ramadan

Risk of extremist attacks raised in the holy month of Ramadan

Over 1.9 billion Muslims around the world will today begin celebrating Ramadan, the sacred month of fasting from sunrise to

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Photo: Associated Press/Tatan Syuflana

Over 1.9 billion Muslims around the world will today begin celebrating Ramadan, the sacred month of fasting from sunrise to sunset.

While the Qur’an prohibits the waging of war during Ramadan, extremist branches of the faith have historically interpreted exemptions to this rule in the second surah as an encouragement of jihadist attacks and martyrdom. In 2017, for example, some 124 extremist attacks across 24 countries took place during Ramadan.

Reduced to 3% of the territory it occupied at its peak in 2014, ISIS recently released its first statement in over 10 months that called on its supporters to redirect attacks against Arab states supposedly complicit with the “Crusader” states of the West.

Consequently, expect an increase in attempted attacks by ISIS against Arab neighbour states, especially in Turkey and Iraq itself. An attack on Turkey under its Islamist president Recep Erdogan could positively influence his chances at reelection, as the president has historically performed better when elections follow attacks in the country.

The recent attacks in Paris, on the other hand, could be diversionary, indicative of the possibility of an attempted mass casualty attack in the Middle East proper as ISIS struggles to convince the world that it is still relevant.

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