Al-Qaeda affiliate uses footage of Donald Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric and U.S. white supremacists in recruitment video

Al-Shabaab released a propaganda video featuring the racist rhetoric of the GOP frontrunner and white supremacists

By Ben Norton
Published January 2, 2016 8:30PM (EST)
 Donald Trump (Reuters/Christopher Aluka Berry)
Donald Trump (Reuters/Christopher Aluka Berry)

Al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia, uses footage of far-right Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in a new recruitment video.

In the video, Trump is shown demanding that all Muslims be banned from entering the U.S. "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on," Trump states in a clip from a Dec. 7 speech.

The propaganda video recalls the third Democratic presidential debate, in which candidate Hillary Clinton warned, "[Trump] is becoming ISIS's best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists."

Sen. Martin O'Malley also referred to Trump's anti-Muslim policies as "fascist" in his opening remarks in the December debate.

At the time of her remarks, Clinton was unable to provide examples of such videos. The communications director for her campaign claimed Clinton misspoke and "was not referring to a specific video, but he is being used in social media by ISIS as propaganda." Trump subsequently accused Clinton of being a "liar."

The new al-Shabaab recruitment video confirms warnings that the anti-Muslim and anti-refugee policies and rhetoric of far-right politicians like Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and others are fueling extremism. Within the U.S., these policies and rhetoric have inspired a wave of anti-Muslim attacks. Hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. tripled in December.

Al-Shabaab has carried out numerous massacres. The extremist group is most known for slaughtering 67 people at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013.

In the group's propaganda video, which is more than 50 minutes long, al-Shabaab also speaks about violent racism and police brutality against black Americans. In addition to the clip of Trump's speech, the video includes footage of American white supremacists.

It furthermore cites examples of the U.S. government's oppression of Muslims. "In the United States, basic human rights and concepts such as justice, tolerance, and the rule of law do not apply if you are a Muslim," the extremist group says in the propaganda video.

The video further confirms the argument that the U.S. government's drone assassination program, use of torture at prisons like Abu Ghraib, police entrapment and surveillance of Muslims, and long-term imprisonment without charge of trial of Muslims in Guantánamo Bay are recruiting tools for violent extremist groups like al-Qaeda.

Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a politics reporter and staff writer at AlterNet. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

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