Across the world, the staunchest holdouts in the face of COVID-19  have been religious radicals, fundamentalists, and militants of just about every faith. While some have latched on to conspiracy theories, miracle cures, or end-of-times theologies, others are using the crisis as an opportunity to spread religious ideology and hate, urging followers to engage in militant or terrorist activity. Salafi-Jihadi groups are no different.
THE MASS MEDIA AS COUNTER-IDEOLOGY TOOL
According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), there are approximately 31 000 fighters in the ISIS ranks in Iraq and Syria at the present moment. By comparison, Al Qaeda had 3 000 at its peak. On the side of regular national forces, this is nearly half of the U.S. Marine Corps’ strength and a little less than half of the total Canadian armed forces (all elements combined).