ISIS’ new best friend

‘Fake news’, as they say, now dominates what’s become of our political discourse. With a fake president in the White House and fake leaders littered generously all around him, lying has become our Esperanto. It’s probably a pretty good time to be a linguist – or a fact-checker, at least so far as keeping busy. As far as getting half the country to believe anything you say, forget it.

This however appears to be real.

In the days that followed, the recent defector said, ISIS members in Raqqa, the group’s self-declared capital, hailed Donald Trump’s win as a victory for the terror group. Local leaders even called it divine intervention. “They told us that victory is at hand and that God has sent the pig Trump as clear evidence of this,” Abu Musab said.

These are interviews BuzzFeed did with former ISIS members.

On the morning after the election, though, the soldiers found the imam in an excited mood. He devoted the entire hour to Trump and his electoral win, imploring the fighters to seize the initiative. “He said that now Trump won the election, and he is an enemy of Islam, and we have to use this chance because it’s on our side,” the former fighter said. “He said we have to be smart and use social media to call people to come and join us.”

Here was the Washington Post on Sunday.

Jihadist groups on [social media accounts] Sunday celebrated the Trump administration’s ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, saying the new policy validates their claim that the United States is at war with Islam…

Several postings suggested that Trump was fulfilling the predictions of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American born al-Qaeda leader and preacher who famously said that the “West would eventually turn against its Muslim citizens.”…

“When U.S. President Donald Trump says ‘We don’t want them here’ and bans the Muslim immigrants from Muslim countries, there is one thing that comes to our mind,” said another posting, beneath a banner of Awlaki and his quote.

Another posting on the Telegram channel “Abu Magrebi” said Trump’s actions “clearly revealed the truth and harsh reality behind the American government’s hatred toward Muslims.”

Here was CNN yesterday.

“It can play into their propaganda, to make it clear for anyone who could be in doubt, that it’s a war on Islam and all Muslims,” Abdullah told CNN over a messaging service. The names of the now-defected foreign fighters in this story have been changed to protect their identities…

“[Trump’s] helped ISIS a lot, he’s basically being a tool for them in a way,” Abu Obaida, a British former Jabhat al-Nusra fighter in Syria, told CNN via direct message. “On social media right now there’s a lot of people quoting Anwar al-Awlaki (the late spokesperson for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) and his last speech when he said that America will turn on the Muslims.”…

In conversation on social media, various jihadists have said the executive action unveiled America’s “hatred towards Muslims,” according to US-based SITE monitoring service. A pro-ISIS account on Telegram — an encrypted app favored by the militant group — praised Trump as “the best caller to Islam,” signaling the President’s ban would attract new believers.

You can see why Obama was so careful with his language. He was likely to refer to ISIS and the like as ‘not Islamic’ or ‘enemies of Islam.’

Propaganda is a game that the terrorists play every day, and they play it well. That’s why they’re so good at recruiting young men – and women – from across the world, including from here in the U.S.. Donald would rather play that exact same game, but only with you and me. He’d rather lie to us and be blunt with the enemy. It’s a bad strategy.

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