On May 25, ISIS released a video calling on supporters to conduct assaults and justified the killing of innocents during Ramadan, the most sacred month in Islam, which runs from May 27 to June 24. Historically, ISIS and its predecessor groups have called for an offensive campaign during this month.
- The recent message encourages targeting civilians in the West, claiming that their deaths would serve as retribution for casualties in Muslim-majority countries. In 2015 and 2016, the group’s now-deceased spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, urged followers to escalate attacks during Ramadan, encouraging those unable to travel to Iraq and Syria to conduct operations in the West—“The smallest action you do in the heart of their land is dearer to us than the largest action by us.”
- Since 2006, ISIS and its predecessor group, al-Qa’ida in Iraq, have engaged in Ramadan campaigns, marked by complex coordinated operations in multiple countries throughout the month. In 2016, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and a bombing in Baghdad, killing 49 and 323 respectively, occurred during Ramadan. In 2015, attacks conducted within hours of each other targeted tourists at a Tunisian beach resort, killing 38, and worshipers at a Shia mosque in Kuwait, resulting in 27 fatalities.
- During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and engage in increased religious observance. Traditionally, Muslims gather at mosques for evening feasts, known as Iftar, and nightly prayers. The month concludes with a three-day holiday, Eid al-Fitr, during which prayers and celebrations will be held at mosques, high schools, and parks throughout New Jersey.
There are no known or credible threats to New Jersey in relation to ISIS’s statement. NJOHSP encourages residents to report suspicious activity to local law enforcement and by calling 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.