Politics

Donald Trump stars in Al Shabaab's latest recruitment video

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a news conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan, Sept. 28, 2015. 
Credit: Shannon Stapleton

Remember when Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump "ISIS' best recruiter"? Well, she was close. Somalia's Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda affiliate, has used a clip of the Republican presidential candidate knocking Muslims in its latest recruitment video.

The 51-minute video — released by Al Shabaab's media arm al-Kataib on Jan. 1, according to SITE intelligence group — is all about racial injustice in the United States and how the country is turning against Muslims. Cue Trump.

Of course, Shabaab used the clip of Trump at a rally in South Carolina last month, calling for a "shutdown" on Muslims entering the US. The clip is placed between shots of the late militant leader Anwar al-Awlaki, killed by US drones in Yemen in 2011, warning that the West is anti-Muslim. 

“Muslims of the West, take heed and learn from the lessons of history," Awlaki is shown saying. "There are ominous clouds gathering in your horizon. Yesterday, America was a land of slavery, segregation, lynching, and Ku Klux Klan. And tomorrow it will be a land of religious discrimination and concentration camps.

Cut to Trump. “And so remember this. So listen. 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 *** is going on.” (Trump's "hell" is bleeped over in the recruitment video.)

Back to Awlaki: “The West will eventually turn against its Muslim citizens,” he says, and then calls on Muslims in the US to “either leave or you fight.”

You might say they got what they need from Trump. He is the cream in Awlaki's Oreo sandwich.

The whole video has been taken off Youtube, but you can see the parts described above here

According to the New York Times, the video is aimed at African Americans in the US, urging them to convert to Islam and wage jihad at home or abroad. In addition to Trump, the video features clips of Malcolm X, various white supremacists and police officers, as well as African American men in prison and protesting police brutality.

Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are essentially competing for loyalties among radicalized Muslims — ever since IS split from Al Qaeda over differences on Syria strategy. So, while Hillary Clinton may have been premature in her accusation last month (this recruitment video appears to be the first featuring Trump), it turns out she wasn't exactly wrong either.

Apparently, even Trump saw this coming. He said last month that he wouldn't change his position even if he was presented with proof that jihadis were using his rhetoric for recruitment. So no cliff hanger there.

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