From Afghanistan to Algeria, jihadists plan to use Donald Trump’s shock U.S. presidential victory as a propaganda tool to bring new fighters to their battlefields.
Abu Omar Khorasani, a top IS commander in Afghanistan, on Monday in Kabul said that Trump’s campaign trail rhetoric against Muslims at one point calling for a total shutdown of Muslims entering U.S. would play perfectly in their recruitment efforts, especially for disaffected youth in the West.
“This guy is a complete maniac. His utter hate towards Muslims will make our job much easier because we can recruit thousands.
“Trump has talked tough against militant groups on the campaign trail, promising to defeat radical Islamic terrorism just as we won the Cold War,’’ he said.
Khorasani said the president-elect later toned down his call for a total ban on Muslim entry to say he would temporarily suspend immigration from countries that have “a history of exporting terrorism’’.
He noted that Trump has offered few details on his plans to combat various radical groups, including IS, the Taliban and al Qaeda, which represent a wide spectrum of political views.
Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraq’s powerful Shi’ite Muslim cleric said Trump does not differentiate between extremists and moderate Islamist trends and, at the same time, he overlooks the fact that his extremism will generate extremism in return.
Sadr’s political reform movement, which commands thousands of followers, is a staunch opponent of the radical Sunni movements IS and al Qaeda, and unlike them has not waged or promoted attacks in the West.
“Our leaders were closely following the U.S. election but it was unexpected that the Americans will dig their own graves and they did so.’’
Hisham al Hashemi, Iraqi government adviser on Sunni jihadist movements, said that al Qaeda, which has proven resilient more than 15 years after launching the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, has yet to comment on Trump’s victory.
He said the militant group would likely respond after Trump’s first speeches as president, anticipating they will be able to exploit his comments to win support.
“Al Qaeda is known for its recruitment strategy that heavily quotes speeches of the White House and other Western officials,’’ he said.
Matthew Henman, Head of IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, insisted the militants would still use those quotes by Trump.
A senior Taliban commander in Afghanistan said the group, whose resurgence is undermining efforts to end America’s longest war, had kept track of all of Trump’s speeches and anti-Muslim comments.
“If he does what he warned in his election campaign, I am sure it will provoke Muslim community across the world and Jihadist organisations can exploit it."
Shortly after Trump’s victory, several jihadist sympathisers took to social media to declare this as an opportunity for their cause.