A New ISIS Recruitment Video Stars Donald Trump

Terrorist propagandists seize on the Republican front-runner’s own words.

An image of Donald Trump appears in a new ISIS recruitment video praising the Brussels attacks.Program On Extremism


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.” 

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate