Donald Trump has won the US presidential election 2016 emerging "victorious" against all odds, polls, and projections. But it's not only Trump-supporters who will be celebrating the victory of the Republican leader who promised to make "America great again". As Firstpostreported, the Islamic State (IS) were also cheering for Trump because it believed the Republican candidate (now President-elect) would lead America on a path of self-destruction and his presidency would be a powerful recruiting tool for the jihadist cult.
Only two months ago, the IS Telegram channel Nashir wrote this post in Arabic: “I ask Allah to deliver America to Trump”... “The 'facilitation' of Trump's arrival in the White House must be a priority for jihadists at any cost!!!”
Now when Donald Trump has taken up the gigantic responsibility of "rebuilding" the US, one of the tasks he would have to do is realise his promise to "bomb the hell" out of the IS. Trump has been campaigning on a promise to "completely eradicate the IS". During the last few months, he has strongly issued statements such as "I would bomb them" and "We have to knock the hell out of them". Most notably, Trump pledged that he would send up to 30,000 US troops to fight the IS.
Not long ago, the US President-elect also stated that he viewed the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad as the lesser evil when compared with the US-backed rebel opposition groups, some of whom have "radical Islamist leanings". He also went on record castigating the Obama-Clinton administration as the "co-founder of the IS". He averred that they are responsible for the emergence of the militant outfit. Tellingly, Trump also claimed to have opposed the Iraq invasion.
As a matter of fact, Trump is honest in his assertion. That IS, al-Qaida and their ilk have been created and funded by the former US strategists is no secret. Clinton herself confessed that the US government created and funded the terrorists they are fighting today and imported the extremist "Wahhabi strain" to fight the Soviets. These were the words of Hillary Clinton, as clearly shown in the video:
"Let’s remember here the people we are fighting today we funded them 20 years ago... Let’s go recruit these mujahideen. And great, let them come from Saudi Arabia and other countries, importing their Wahabi brand of Islam so that we can go beat the Soviet Union... We had this brilliant Idea that we were going to come to Pakistan and create a force of 'Mujahedeen' and equip them with Stinger missiles and everything else to go after the Soviets inside Afghanistan and we were successful..."
So, despite being well aware of the fact, American powers continued to pamper the terrorist outfits, openly or tacitly, from time to time. Obviously, since Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, the situation in the US has not yet improved.
But with Donald Trump coming to power, the world will expect the US government to give up its "political correctness" in the fight against the IS. One of the key reasons why the Americans chose Trump is clearly their tremendous urge for an uncompromising and unequivocal stand on the IS terror. In this context, it was quite interesting to see the American House Speaker Paul Ryan calling Trump's victory a "repudiation of the status quo of failed liberal progressive policies".
Given Trump’s avowed pledge and potential to fight the IS, his presidential address assumes vital significance. He laid out that “working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American Dream... I’ve gotten to know our country so well, tremendous potential. It’s going to be a beautiful thing. Every single American will have the opportunity to realise his or her fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer".
But what is the IS plan after the Americans have elected a president who fuelled the "anti-Muslim rhetoric" in his election campaigns? As expected, the Islamic State propagandists revealed their nefarious designs only 72 hours before American voters were all set to elect the next American president. They announced their plan to "slaughter" the American voters in general and in particular, the American Muslims participating in the 2016 US presidential election because the democratic voting in the view of the IS ideologues is termed as “irtidad” or apostasy.
The IS official media outlet, Al Hayat Media Center released a document entitled "The Murtadd Vote" meaning "the votes of the apostates". In a seven-page essay in this document, the IS threatened all American voters with these words: “We have come to slaughter you and smash your ballot boxes." However, they particularly addressed the Muslims who voted in the elections, as they wrote: "the blood of Crusader voters is even more deserving of being spilled than the blood of Crusader combatants".
It is interesting to note that in the IS viewpoint, there is no difference between the two American parties: Republican and Democrat. In their religious justification of the indiscriminate hostility against the Americans, the IS writers argue in this essay that the “Democrats and Republicans are the same in their policies against Islam and Muslims”. They also raged against the American interventions in the West Asia and heaped high praise on the terrorists for "the blessed 9/11 operations". The essay concluded: "May Allah make this year's US presidential election a dreadful calamity like no other to have struck America throughout its pathetic history."
Still, they rooted for Trump and preferred him over Clinton. The reason for this is clear from the posts shared by the jihadist militants. In a Telegram post in Arabic, an IS defector, Samer, writes that when he was fighting for the group in Deir ez-Zor, he was happy when Trump said bad things about Muslims because "he makes it very clear that there are two teams in this battle: Islamic and anti-Islamic". So, basically, the idea is that Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric will fuel the IS’ propaganda that “America is at war with Islam”. It will also help the IS buttress their dichotomous worldview of "us" versus "them", misusing the medieval jurisprudential terms such as "Dar ul-Kufr (abode of disbelief) and Dar al-Islam (abode of belief)".
An article in Foreign Affairs, a magazine published by the Council on Foreign Relations, details the reasons why IS was rooting Donald Trump to win the US Polls.
When asked to explain their (IS supporters’) preference for Trump, interviewees offered several reasons. First, Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric plays into the IS’ narrative of a bipolar world in which the West is at war with Islam. Second, IS hopes that Trump will radicalise Muslims in the United States and Europe and inspire them to commit lone-wolf attacks in their home countries. Third, IS supporters believe that Trump would be an unstable and irrational leader whose impulsive decision-making would weaken the United States. And fourth, IS subscribes to the prophecy of a "Final Battle," to take place in the northern Syrian town of Dabiq, in which the caliphate will decisively triumph over its enemies. Some IS supporters believe that Trump would lead the United States and its Western allies into the apocalyptic clash they have been waiting for.
In the above-mentioned seven-page essay, the IS writes: "Mr Trump was yet to learn that what he calls as 'radical Islamic terrorist' is nothing but the teachings of Islam, plain and simple". Since the IS and their Islamist ideologues have declared voting, election and democracy as "apostasy", the essay cited various Islamic references, obviously out of context, to prove that voting in "the pagan festivals of US democracy" is a sin. Therefore, all American Muslims, particularly those known as “moderate” or “progressive” Muslims are in the hit-list of the IS.
Given his ideological implication, it would be quite an uphill task for Trump to protect the peaceful, pluralistic and progressive American Muslims from the IS radical Islamists.
Interestingly, even before his win in the US election, Trump has issued several categorical statements against the IS, pledging to send 30,000 more troops to eradicate them. Therefore, some American Muslims have cast their votes in his favour only in their bid to counter radicalism. Since Trump has refused to rule out the possibility of using nuclear weapons against the IS, they have high expectations from him in vow to "cleanse IS’.
But it’s time Trump deepened his counter-terror strategy so it can stem the tide of the global terrorism championed by the self-imposed Islamic caliphate. But merely vowing and ranting against the terrorists is pointless. However, Trump seemed quite optimistic and confident in his presidential speech:
“No dream is too big, no challenge is too great, nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach. America will no longer settle for anything less than the best.”
— The author is a doctoral research scholar in Centre for Culture, Media & Governance at Jamia Millia Islamia. Views are personal