Somali al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab began the new year by releasing a slick recruitment video targeted at Westerners and featuring the words of Donald Trump.
It includes archive footage of al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki warning that the United States would soon become inhospitable territory for Muslims.
“Muslims of the West: take heed and learn from the lessons of history. There are ominous clouds gathering on your horizon,” says the Las Cruces, N.M., native who was killed in 2011.
The nearly 52-minute video, a highly produced release from Al-Shabaab’s media wing Al-Kataib titled “The Path 2 Paradise: From the Twin Cities to the Land of Two Migrations, Episode 2,” cuts to archive footage of Malcolm X noting “black people in this country have been victims at the hand of the white man for 400 years.”
“Yesterday, America was the land of slavery, segregation, lynching, and Ku Klux Klan, and tomorrow it will be a land of religious discrimination and concentration camps. The West will eventually turn against its Muslim citizens,” Al-Awlaki says.
The video features more audio of Malcolm X while showing video of beatings and shootings by police, including Michael Brown, Walter Scott and Freddie Gray, as well as footage of Black Lives Matter protests with the faces of women blurred out and a Klan rally. It spends time talking about racial inequality in the criminal justice system, before transitioning to Malcolm X talking about why Islam is best for black people.
“To the Muslims in America I have this to say: Slowly but surely your situation is becoming similar to that of the embattled Muslim community of Spain after the fall of Granada,” Al-Alwaki says in the video before the warning to “learn the lessons of history” is repeated.
Then, it cuts to Trump reading his statement on blocking Muslim immigration “until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on,” as a crowd cheers. Al-Shabaab bleeped the word “hell.”
It cuts back to Al-Awlaki. “The West will eventually turn against its Muslim citizens, hence my advice to you is this: you have two choices. Either hijrah [immigration to Muslim lands] or jihad. You either leave or you fight. You leave and live among Muslims or you stay behind and follow the example of Nidal Hassan and others who fulfilled their duty of fighting for Allah’s cause,” he says, referencing the Fort Hood shooter.
The video then shows English-speaking Al-Shabaab fighters — several from Minnesota — who picked both: leaving the United States and waging jihad.
Americans and Canadians who have been killed fighting for Al-Shabaab over the past few years are shown giving testimonials. One American jihadist directly addresses President Obama. “You are happy today because you say you killed Sheikh Osama. But let me tell you something: Sheikh Osama is in… a place that we are all seeking.”
“We love death more than you love life. We seek martyrdom… Let me tell you, man, what you don’t know is there’s hundreds of Sheikh Osamas still living today here in Somalia, in Afghanistan, in Iraq … in every place where the jihad is going on.” He adds that jihad will not stop until sharia rules everywhere. “Don’t think this is a simple war. You started a war you will never be able to finish.”
Trump recently fought with Hillary Clinton over statements she made at the last Democratic primary debate about terrorist groups using his words for recruitment.
Clinton stressed that the U.S. must “make sure that the really discriminatory messages that Trump is sending around the world don’t fall on receptive ears.”
“He is becoming ISIS’s best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists,” she said. “So I want to explain why this is not in America’s interest to react with this kind of fear and respond to this sort of bigotry.”
Politifact rated the recruitment claim as false, and Trump demanded an apology.
“I will demand an apology from Hillary,” Trump told the Today show. “I will demand an apology from Hillary. She should apologize. She lies about emails, she lies about Whitewater, she lies about everything.”
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said “hell no.”
“Hillary Clinton will not be apologizing to Donald Trump for correctly pointing out how his hateful rhetoric only helps ISIS recruit more terrorists,” Fallon said.
Clinton later said at an Iowa town hall if “you look at what is being blasted out with video of Mr. Trump being translated into Arabic, ‘No Muslims coming into the United States,’ other kinds of derogatory, defamatory statements, it is playing into the hands of the violent jihadists.”