As Wolf Blitzer of CNN would say, IT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW! Al-Shabaab, the Somali-based Islamic terrorist group, has released a film featuring Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate, in an effort to swell its ranks with new members. The group is using Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric as a clarion call to other Muslims in the West to mount a jihad against the US. The nearly hour-long film has footage of Anwar al-Awlaki, the Islamic militant leader killed in Yemen almost five years ago during a US drone strike.
The video specifically appeals to black youths, asking them to convert to Islam. Dismissing the US as an enemy nation to its Muslim citizens, the narrator claims that, “…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.”
In a December 7, 2015 campaign speech, Trump had recommended a complete banning of all Muslims entering the United States. He made the remark in the wake of the San Bernadino mass shootings master-minded by a married couple of Middle East origin, during which more than a dozen people were killed. Trump’s suggestion drew worldwide condemnation. Hillary Clinton, front-runner in the Democratic race for the White House, panned Trump for the remark, saying that jihadist groups were “going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslim in order to recruit more radical jihadist.”
Not liking that, Trump struck back at Clinton, calling her a liar. The Clinton campaign did not produce any evidence to back up her claim, but continued to double down on the accusation instead. The latest development which seems to validate Clinton’s warning, will inevitably prod many to ask several questions, all of which are legitimate anyway. First, what did Clinton know about this, and when exactly? Did the al-Qaeda-affiliated group originally have the intention of doing this video, or it did it only because the Clinton campaign had unwittingly provided it with the impulse?
No matter what the answers to the above questions are, this latest development will only ratchet up the rhetoric between both candidates and as a consequence heat up the political temperature in the country.