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On March 31, 2020, Al-Qaeda Central’s media outlet, the Al-Sahab Foundation, issued a statement in English and Arabic titled in "The Way Forward – A word of Advice on the Coronavirus Pandemic." Reflecting the view the Al-Qaeda leadership, that the COVID-19 pandemic as a clear sign of God's fury towards humanity for its sins and its failure to adhere to God’s rules, the six-page document urges all Muslims to repent and all non-Muslims to embrace Islam.
Listing what it views as the causes of the pandemic, the document mentions the "obscenity and moral corruption" sweeping the Muslim world, including the holy sites in Saudi Arabia, and the tyranny of Muslim rulers. It also alludes to what it describes as the Muslims’ failure to support and defend the oppressed and wage jihad against "the Crusader enemy." It urges Muslims to act to free Muslim prisoners, and Muslim scholars to seize the opportunity to promote jihad, support the mujahideen and spread the "correct creed".
In addition, the document praises and underlines the importance of Islamic rules regarding personal hygiene, such as "covering one's face with a cloth or any protective cover when sneezing or coughing." It also stresses that it is forbidden to flee infected areas, stating that "The Prophet issued strict orders that anyone who finds himself in an area infected by a viral disease must not leave that area or travel to any other region, town, or village, lest the infection spread to new localities. The Prophet taught us that the one who patiently remains in his locality when a viral disease spreads, his reward equals that of a martyr because of his choice to preserve and protect human life and prosperity in other localities."
The second part of the document, captioned "A General Call for the Masses in the Western World to Embrace Islam," addresses the Western world, accusing it of waging war against Islam and of angering God through the widespread practice of usury. It exhorts non-Muslims to use the time in quarantine to study and embrace Islam, and castigates Western governments, which it says devote vital resources to warfare and the spread of atheism instead of to healthcare and welfare services.
The following are excerpts from the English version of the document, as published by by Al-Sahab:
"The way forward – A word of advice on the coronavirus pandemic."
"As we all know, the coronavirus pandemic has cast its gloomy, painful shadow over the entire world. Across the globe, there appears to be no light at the end of the dark tunnel that the world finds itself in. People are stuck in their homes, shops and businesses are being forced to shut down. The global economy is paralysed, and the world utterly perplexed by this predicament. Everything that was once taken for granted lies now in grave jeopardy. Economies of major nations lie in ruin as they find their entire state apparatus, including army and security, pinned down by an invisible enemy. Norms of social behaviour, lifestyles, everything is being redefined. Allah alone knows what the coming days hold in store. In the midst of this unprecedented crisis, we consider it our duty to console our Muslim brothers and sisters and discuss the way forward for the Muslim World specifically and humanity in general.
"The current crisis has exposed the brittleness of a global economy dominated by the United States. Only a few weeks back, the economy was making historic strides, the outlook better than ever. Trump could not stop bragging about economic growth [...]
"It must be said that the arrival of this pandemic to the Muslim World is only a consequence of our own sins and our distance from the Divine methodology that Allah has chosen for His slaves. [...] Before this great disaster struck, obscenity and moral corruption had already become widespread in Muslim countries. In fact, this phenomenon had extended its dirty tentacles to the vicinities of the purest site on the face of the earth, the Haram in Makkah. And just as indecency was being openly promoted with official supervision, prisons started overflowing with the righteous, the reformers and scholars. The despots ruling over the Muslim World, specifically in the Arab World, have been guilty of committing the most unimaginable forms of torture and rights abuses against Muslim scholars and Mujahideen in secret torture cells that have become a norm across the Muslim World.
"To make matters even worse, Islamic causes have been consigned to oblivion across the Muslim World, especially Syria, Iraq, Waziristan, Palestine, East Turkistan, Libya, Islamic Maghreb, and Somalia. The Crusader enemy is focused on killing the believers, destroying their homes, burying oppressed people alive beneath the rubble and displacing millions from their lands, while the rest of the world watches on. There are hundreds of thousands across the globe who have been hurt by this oppression and do not find anyone to complain to except Allah.
"This oppression pales in comparison to the Western-led campaigns to spread atheism in Muslim societies. The West, with the aid of its local tools - despotic rulers and a Westernized media - has made unrelenting efforts to distance Muslims from their Religion and values. Billions have been spent on these campaigns, mostly from the coffers of public wealth. If these funds were to be spent on poverty alleviation- in the Muslim World or in the West- it could have transformed the lives of millions struggling below the poverty line. [...] Allah is angered. His anger is severe against those who cross the limits and stand in opposition to Him and His punishment equally painful. We pray to Allah for our safety. Being deprived of the worship of Tawwaf around the Kabbah and the congregational prayers is an ominous warning sign. It is a clear indication of Allah's anger; glory be to Him and may His Names be glorified. We ask Allah to protect us from all evil. [...]
"Muslims must learn some serious lessons from this calamity and start taking practical steps for the liberation of prisoners and missing persons across the Islamic World. A large number of Mujahideen and those present in the fronts have been prevented, for obvious security reasons, from praying in mosques, performing the Hajj or the Umrah. For almost three decades now, they have been waiting to see with their own eyes these blessed sites. We pray to Allah that that day comes soon. Let the Ummah take this opportunity to remember and reflect on the fact that the entire Ummah has been deprived of freely visiting the destination of the Prophet's Night Journey- Al Aqsa- for over a century due to the Zionist occupation of the Blessed Land. [...]
"In this crisis, we would like to remind people of knowledge and callers to Allah to intensify their efforts to call people to Allah and invite them to repent sincerely. Now is the time to spread the correct creed, call people to Jihad in the Way of Allah and revolt against oppression and oppressors. We also call upon rich Muslims to step forward and show mercy towards the poor and deprived segments of society so that they may find some solace in these distressing times. There is a dire need today to take care of the orphans, widows, families of the prisoners and to support the sincere Mujahideen.
"As we invite Muslims to repentance, let us, the Mujahideen in the fronts, too repent sincerely to our Lord and hold ourselves accountable for our actions. We must introspect and reflect on our deeds so that we may rid ourselves of our sins. We must turn this calamity into a cause for uniting our ranks, showing mercy to the weak, bringing an end to injustice in all its forms, giving the rightful their rights, putting our trust completely in Allah, disavowing all forms of wrongdoing, and exhorting our leadership to righteousness. [...]
"A General Call for the Masses in the Western World to Embrace Islam."
"O people of the Western World! You have seen with your own eyes the power and might of Allah exhibited in this weak, invisible soldier. This is a God-gifted opportunity for you to reflect on the wisdom hidden in the havoc wrecked by a weak intruder. Your governments and armies are helpless, utterly confused in the face of this weak creature. Allah, the Creator, has revealed the brittleness and vulnerability of your material strength. It is now clear for all to see that it was but a deception that could not stand the test of the smallest soldier of God on the face of the earth. The very technological advancement and globalization that man took immense pride in has become his undoing. Today, if someone sneezes in China, those in New York suffer from its consequences.
"We invite you to reflect on the phenomenon that is Covid-19 and carefully consider its deeper causes. The truth remains, whether we like it or not, that this pandemic is a punishment from the Lord of the Worlds for the injustice and oppression committed against Muslims specifically and mankind generally by governments you elect. Your rulers have spread wars, destruction, and famines in regions that had no dearth of pre-existing challenges to cope with. They have stolen the resources and wealth of poor nations and, to advance this vile cause, propped up despotic rulers all over Muslim lands.
"Consider the economic damage done by this pandemic. The underlying cause of this is your usury-based economy. Engaging in usury, as you would know, is a declaration of war on God Himself. [...]
"So, will you not take this pandemic as a Divine warning to return to the natural disposition in which God created man, free from evil inclinations ... to return to your Lord? This world is a temporary abode and on the Day of Judgment we shall all be facing accountability. We would like to share with you our desire that you should be our partners in the Heavens the expanse of which is far greater than the earth and the sky. [...]
"Islam is a hygiene-oriented Religion. It lays great stress on principles of prevention so as to protect one from all forms of disease. This it implements through a system of personal hygiene that takes the form of a regular routine that is repeated several times throughout the day. The laws on preventive measures include the necessity of using only the right hand for eating, drinking and all decent activities, and the left hand for cleaning the body. Our Prophet ordered the Muslims to abide by certain norms and etiquettes such as covering one's face with a cloth or any protective cover when sneezing or coughing. [...]
"The importance of hygiene and cleanliness for preventing disease and warding off viruses manifests itself in several facets of Islam. [...] The Prophet issued strict orders that anyone who finds himself in an area infected by a viral disease must not leave that area or travel to any other region, town or village lest the infection spreads to new localities. The Prophet taught us that the one who patiently remains in his locality when a viral disease spreads, his reward equals that of a martyr because of his choice to preserve and protect human life and prosperity in other localities.
"Let us not forget that Covid-19 emerged from one of the filthiest places on earth, the markets of Wuhan, where all known norms of decent and humane dietary practices were trampled upon. From insects to rodents and reptiles, in short everything unsafe for human consumption, or the consumption of which is prohibited in all revealed religions, was sold and consumed there.
"O people of the Western World! The callousness of your rulers is evident for you today. They are least concerned about the health of the societies they are responsible for. Instead of ensuring the provision of health facilities and medical supplies- some of which are as inexpensive and simple as face masks and PPEs- they are obsessed with supplies of war and the tools of human eradication. If they had only spent a fraction of this money on healthcare and public insurance- instead of satisfying their imperialist, expansionist cravings- they could have saved millions of lives.
"To conclude, we would like to remind non-Muslims to utilize their time in quarantine for finding out more about Islam from authentic sources; reading, and reflecting on the merits that make Islam stand out from all other religions, 'isms' and systems.
"We have a brief message for the oppressive Crusaders and their hirelings among the Zionists and apostates: The fear and panic that has struck you is a good omen for us. We ask Allah to demonstrate His powers in your suffering and hasten your doom."
 Al-Sahab Foundation, March 31, 2020.