In recent weeks, Daesh has suffered a new blow in its attempt to govern: swine flu. As reported by the courageous journalists of Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, there has been an outbreak of a deadly disease characterized by flu-like symptoms. Cases were first observed among residents of Tell Abyad, a city near the Daesh capital of Raqqa, and spread to the countryside west of the capital. As of the beginning of February, about 20 deaths were reported.
Although there seems to be no conclusive evidence that the illness is swine flu, nevertheless both RIBSS and ISIS itself is reporting it as such. (In the interest of full disclosure, it bears noting that the latter is using WordPress, the same blogging tool hosting Thought Front.)
Daesh, not surprisingly, is concerned. Reportedly they are distributing leaflets in their territory instructing the populace on steps to take to avoid contracting flu. They also circulated an infographic in their propaganda channels, which I presume has roughly the same advice.
Conveniently, they actually produced an English language version:
Most of the pamphlet offers reasonable advice to keep from contracting or spreading swine flu: wear a surgical mask, seek medical treatment, keep your home clean, avoid crowds, wash your hands regularly. It also advises that treatment of the disease within 48 hours gives you a much greater chance of recovery “by Allah’s permission.”
Besides that particular line, Daesh’s final piece of advice stuck out: pray.
“Recite Morning and Evening Litanies,” the pamphlet says.
What exactly will prayer do to prevent the disease, Daesh? Will it prevent contracting swine flu? Will it cure you? And if someone is struck with swine flu, does that mean he or she was not devout?
(As a side note, I should add that I am surprised Daesh would refer to the disease as “swine flu.” Because when cases were reported in Israel in 2009, a health minister renamed it Mexico flu in order not to hurt the sensibilities of the country’s kosher and halal citizens.)