Among the many terrorist tactics endorsed by al-Qaeda is intentional arson, which makes their recent celebration of the California wildfires all the more chilling. While members and supporters of the terrorist network have not specifically taken credit for starting the devastating Camp Fire blaze, they have circulated propaganda online that encourages jihadists to use the inferno as an example to follow.
Last week, social media supporters of al-Qaeda circulated a digital poster with photos of the fire, over which the text read: “They will question you about the mountains. Say: ‘My Lord will scatter them as ashes.’” A verse from the Quran, apparently.
Other terrorist groups, including ones associated with ISIS, have gone further, suggesting that the fire is Allah’s retribution against the U.S. for bombing campaigns in the Middle East.
In one, pictures of the fire were accompanied by this text: “O America, this is the punishment of bombing Muslims in Syria. This is Allah’s punishment for you. And in shaa Allah, you will see more fires. Praise be to Allah.”
As PJ Media noted, these terrorist groups have offered wildfires as a promising avenue for jihad in the past:
In a 2012 issue of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire magazine, a tutorial by “The AQ Chef’ under the “Open Source Jihad” section — al-Qaeda’s name for lone jihadist terrorism — highlighted the damage caused by 2002 wildfires in Australia.
“In America, there are more houses built in the country sides than in the cities. It is difficult to choose a better place other than in the valleys of Montana where the population increases rapidly. In the year 2000, a fire that is considered to be the biggest in the American history flared up in one of those valleys. It spread in a space equal to that of London. The fire burnt down 70 houses as well as a hundred cars. On July of the same year and in the same place, a thunderstorm lighted 78 massive blazes in just one day, most of them were deadly firestorms,” the article said, proceeding to cite other wildfires.
“We mention such examples only to show the magnitude of the destructive impact that fires or firebombs make, to then ask the question: Is it possible for us to cause a similar destructive impact using a similar weapon? The answer is: Yes, it is possible. Even in a shorter time and with much bigger destructive impact.”
The cause of the devastating fires raging in California has yet to be determined.