A number of MAGA and conservative figures have suggested American citizens should arm themselves and stock up on ammunition ahead of a so-called “day of Jihad” on Friday.
In the wake of the surprise attack launched by the Palestinian militant group Hamas against Israel, Khaled Mashaal, the former leader of the group’s political wing, called for Muslim protests across the world on Friday, October 13, in order to show support for the Palestinian people.
On October 7, Hamas led the deadliest Palestinian militant attack on Israel in history. Israel subsequently launched its heaviest-ever airstrikes on Gaza. As of Friday, at least 1,300 people in Israel had been killed, according to the Associated Press citing the Israeli military. At least 1,500 people were killed in Gaza, the AP reported citing authorities there.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country is “at war” and has cut off supplies of food, fuel, electricity and medicine into Gaza. Israel has called up 360,000 army reservists as it prepares for a likely ground offensive into the territory, which has an estimated population of around 2.3 million.
According to a transcript of the recorded message revealed by Reuters on Wednesday , Mashaal, who now leads Hamas’ diaspora office in Qatar, said “scholars who teach jihad…to all who teach and learn, this is a moment for the application [of theories].” The call, which some have referred to as a “Day of Jihad,” has sparked concerns that attacks could be carried out as part of protests.
Law enforcement in major U.S. cities New York, Los Angeles and in Washington D.C. have stepped up security measures on Friday while stating there have so far been no credible threats of violence associated with the so-called “day of Jihad.” Both the FBI and the White House have told people to remain “vigilant” and report anything suspicious.
Salam Al-Marayati, president of U.S. nonprofit the Muslim Public Affairs Council, told previously told Newsweek: “Hamas is a terrorist organization and this is what you expect from them. We denounce their terrorist activities and definitely don’t even consider their calls for more fighting to be heeded by any Muslim because the [number] one thing you must abide by in Islam is if you are in any fight, you should not target civilians.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia was one of those who suggested she would be stockpiling in case of any extremist attacks while suggesting the GOP’s attempts to elect a new House speaker should be delayed amid the threats.
“With tomorrow declared a global day of jihad by Hamas, heightened security around the Capitol, and a dozen protests planned in DC with only one of them being Pro-Israel, if we are not going to vote today for a Speaker, why don’t we just go home and regroup next week? I’ll buy ammo while I’m home,” Greene posted on X, formerly Twitter.
While noting disorder that broke out during pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris on Thursday, military veteran Brian Davis, a Make America Great Again (MAGA) supporter, wrote: “IT’S BEGINNING. Muslims riot in the streets of France after Hamas Leader Khaled Mashal calls Friday a ‘Day of Jihad’ after slaughtering 1,000 Jews. Protect yourselves, and keep your head on a swivel.” Davis included a picture of a handgun in his X post.
Police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse a demonstration in Paris on Thursday after France declared a ban all pro-Palestinian protests across the country in the wake of the Hamas attack on Israel.
Actor James Wood, who has been a vocal Donald Trump supporter, posted: “I’m reading a lot of well-meaning advice about ‘sheltering in place’ tomorrow because some dip**** halfway across the globe has declared a Day of Jihad. This is the United States of America, so I’ll just be enjoying my day as usual. Outside. In my hood. With extra ammo.”
Tino Casz, who describes himself as a filmmaker and a Donald Trump supporter on X, posted: “Former Hamas leader—Khaled Meshaal calls for day of jihad on Friday the 13th, and tells Muslims to ‘take to the streets’ in protest against Israel. Arm yourselves not just this Friday, but everyday at all costs.”
The FBI said in a statement that it was aware of “open source reports” about global call for action on Friday which may lead to demonstrations in U.S. cities.
“As always, we take seriously any tips or leads we receive regarding potential threats and investigate them rigorously to determine their credibility,” the federal agency said . “The FBI encourages members of the public to remain vigilant and report anything they consider suspicious to law enforcement.”
The FBI has been contacted for further comment via email.
A similar statement was made by National Security Strategic communications coordinator John Kirby during a press briefing on Thursday.
“We are constantly in touch with local law enforcement—state and federal officials—across the country to make sure that we are as vigilant as we can be to be able to identify and disrupt any threats to the American people,” Kirby said. “We’re absolutely going to stay focused on that.”
In a statement following reports that all New York City police officers will report in uniform on Friday, the NYPD said: “There are no specific, credible threats to New York City.
“We are aware of the concern that postings circulating online have caused, and we have increased our uniform deployments at large gatherings and cultural sites to ensure public safety out of an abundance of caution.”
In his recorded statement sent to Reuters this week, former Hamas chief Mashaal said: “I call on you, me being included as well, and we are all responsible for this to start with the things we are used to but with a higher ceiling, first of all for anger, to head to the squares and streets of the Arab and Islamic world on Friday, the Friday of Al Aqsa Flood.
“Deliver a message through the squares and the streets, a message of anger, that we are with Palestine, that we are with Gaza, with Al Aqsa, with Jerusalem, and that we are a part of this battle, this is first.
“Second, Gaza is calling you for help, with relief and money, with whatever you own, whoever can help, this is the moment of truth.”
“To all scholars who teach jihad for the sake of God and who preach the fighters and martyrs, to all who teach and learn, this is a moment of application [of theories], so that words are not just words,” he added.