Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
A new ISIS propaganda video released Thursday celebrates the attacks in Belgium and features Donald Trump. As images of flames dance over the Republican presidential front-runner's face and footage rolls of emergency workers in Brussels, audio from a recent Trump interview with Fox News plays. "Brussels was one of the great cities. One of the most beautiful cities of the world 20 years ago," Trump says. "It was amazing actually. And safe. And now it's a horror show. It's an absolute horror show."
The nine-minute video, allegedly released by the Al-Battar Media Foundation, a pro-ISIS media group, flashes phrases such as "Brothers, rise up!" and "Let's go, let's go, let's go for jihad" as Trump and pundits are heard describing the Brussels attacks. The video also includes shots of fighters brandishing AK-47s and other weapons and extols the virtues of those who are willing to attack the terrorist group's enemies. A narrator intones, "The Crusade jets—including the Belgian—are still bombing the Muslims in Iraq and Levant day and night, killing children, women, old, and destroying mosques and schools."
The user who uploaded the video to YouTube was banned within minutes of posting, according to Politico, because of the site's policy of taking down pro-ISIS recruitment videos.
Given Trump's support for monitoring American Muslims and torturing terrorists, his appearance in a pro-ISIS clip isn't surprising. As my colleague Max Rosenthal points out, Trump is playing directly into what ISIS wants: Broad anti-Muslim rhetoric that pushes Muslims to the fringes of society and feeds directly into extremists' recruitment strategies. In January, Trump was featured in a recruitment video from Somalia's Al Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab, in which the group portrayed America as a racist nation that will turn against its Muslim citizens.
On the day of the Brussels bombings, Malcolm Nance, the head of the Terrorism Asymmetrics Project, predicted that Trump's statements would play into the hands of ISIS' propagandists. "Good God, they're probably cutting videos of this right now," he said on MSNBC about Trump's comments on torture. "Donald Trump right now is validating the cartoonish view that they tell their operatives…that America is a racist nation, xenophobic, anti-Muslim, and that that's why you must carry out terrorist attacks against them."