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Hillary Was Right: Banning Muslims Is An Invitation To Terror Recruiters

07/01/2016 8:14 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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MANCHESTER, NH - DECEMBER 19: Democratic president candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the debate at Saint Anselm College December 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. This is the third Democratic debate featuring Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

At the last Democratic debate held on 19 December, Hillary Clinton confidently stated that Donald Trump had appeared in recruitment videos for ISIS.

Experts at the time quickly refuted Clinton's claim that "Trump is becoming ISIS's best recruiter", saying she had not produced any evidence.

The conventional wisdom was that Clinton, who seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2016 Presidential election was just trying to make Trump, who is hoping to clinch the Republican nomination, look bad.

And predictably, Trump attacked Clinton aggressively, saying that she "lies like crazy about everything."

The ugly feud had raged on, with Trump insisting to be shown proof of the outrageous allegation and Clinton's camp refusing to back down. They said they did not have concrete evidence but insisted that ISIS was using Trump as a "recruitment tool" on social media.

Clinton had a valid point that Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric will continue to be used by jihadists as a recruitment tool.

Trump had demanded an apology from Clinton, who did not personally respond although her staff were far more categorical on the subject, with an emphatic "hell no".

And then, a terrorist group Al-Shabaab released a new recruitment video featuring Trump.

Al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based militant group with links to al-Qaeda, were last in the news for their deadly attack on a mall in Kenya in September 2013.

Evan Kohlmann, an analyst with NBC News and chief R&D Officer for the private intelligence firm FlashPoint was one of the first to identify the new video and numerous experts, such as Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, agree with him.

SITE (Search for International Terrorist Entities) is one of the world's leading non-governmental counterterrorism organisations. According to SITE's website, Katz has "tracked and analysed global terrorism and jihadi networks for two decades and is well-recognized as one of the most knowledgeable and reliable experts in the field."

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Kohlmann added that the use of Trump shows that "jihadists hope to use him to specifically solicit American recruits."

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The 51-minute propaganda video runs for about 10 minutes before Trump shows up. This is preceded by old footage of al-Qaeda militant Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a US drone in 2011:

"Muslims of the West: Take heed and learn from the lessons of history. There are ominous clouds gathering in your horizon. Yesterday America was a slang of slavery, segregation, lynching and Ku Klux Klan. Tomorrow it will be a land of religious discrimination and concentration camps."

The video features Trump's now famous soundbite in which he is calling for a "ban of Muslims." Or as he elaborated, "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."

In the video, the word "hell" is bleeped out and it returns to al-Awlaki, who adds, "The West will eventually turn against its Muslim citizens."

While Trump has dismissed the video's importance, it is quite clear that Clinton was ahead of the curve and that she had a valid point that Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric will continue to be used by jihadists as a recruitment tool.

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