Al-Qaeda video features Trump

Al-Qaeda video features Trump

Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (AP Photo)
Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (AP Photo)

The al-Qaeda branch in Somalia has released a recruitment video criticising racism and anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States and containing footage of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announcing his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the country.

The video, released by the militant group al-Shabab, appeared to be the first time that Trump was featured in jihadi recruitment material. During a Democratic presidential debate last month, Hillary Clinton said Trump had been used in a recruitment video for the Islamic State, a claim that was later debunked.

Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State are rival jihadi groups that compete for recruits and money among radicalised Muslims.

Representatives for the Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

The video was part of a series dedicated to Somali-American jihadis from Minnesota and one Canadian who died on the battlefield in Somalia. The video was authenticated by the SITE Intelligence Group, which studies jihadi propaganda, and it appeared to be aimed at the African-American community.

Citing “historical injustices” against African-Americans, including police brutality and racial profiling, the video urged them to convert to Islam and engage in jihad at home or abroad.

In addition to footage of Trump, the 51-minute video included excerpts from speeches by Malcolm X and unnamed white supremacists, as well as footage of white police officers, African-Americans protesting against police brutality and African-American men in prison. Some appeared to be performing Islamic prayers.

Using footage of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American member of a Qaeda affiliate who was killed in a US drone attack in 2011, the video also said the United States was gripped by a “malignant hatred” of Islam. It warned American Muslims that “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,” al-Awlaki said in the footage.

The video includes footage of Trump speaking in front of a poster with his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again".

“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 hell is going on,” Trump said.

Al-Awlaki then reappeared on the video.

“The West will eventually turn against its Muslim citizens,” he said, jabbing his finger toward the camera. Only two choices remained for Muslims in the United States, he said.

“You either leave or you fight. You leave and live among Muslims, or you stay behind and follow the example of Nidal Hasan and others who fulfilled their duty of fighting for Allah’s cause.”

Maj Nidal Malik Hasan was an Army psychiatrist who staged a one-man attack at Fort Hood in Texas, in November 2009, killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 others. He once attended a mosque in Virginia where al-Awlaki had preached and exchanged messages with him before committing his attack.

Al-Qaeda is in many ways the parent organisation of the Islamic State, which split from the group over differences in strategy in the war in Syria. The groups compete for influence among radicalised Muslims, a competition that the Islamic State has dominated in recent years.

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22 Jan 2020