Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin, and Edgar Franke, Victims' Commissioner of the German government, lay candles during a memorial service on the fourth anniversary of the Islamist attack on the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz.

Evaluating how the current crisis might impact future strategy

The Impact of COVID-19 on Salafi-Jihadi Terrorism

“The purpose of this article is to evaluate how COVID-19 might impact the future threat posed by Salafi-Jihadi groups and to explain how the current crisis might re-shape the Salafi-Jihadi central message and strategy and in turn impact recruitment, tactics, capability, and leadership, and even doctrine. Salafi-Jihadi groups have found themselves in a dilemma as they have to reckon with the fact that Muslims are not spared from infection despite fervent prayer. If the Coronavirus is the wrath of God against the infidels, why is it also killing the Mujahedeen, and how do you explain it while still maintaining credibility to potential recruits? How do you maintain the Jihad during a global lockdown, where movement is curtailed and resources dry up?

To better understand what we should expect from Salafi-Jihadist groups in the future, the analysis explores three challenges that Jihadi groups will most likely have to overcome as a result of the current crisis: First, the challenge to their strategic mission and capabilities, especially relating to the operationalization of motivations for martyrdom and revenge. Second, the challenge to their ideology, faith, and religious interpretation of scriptures...”

Excerpt from Tova C. Norlen, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Salafi-Jihadi Terrorism,” Connections: The Quarterly Journal  Vol. 19, no. 2, Spring 2020: 11-23.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.