Donald Trump, the current Republican front-runner, is currently in hot water following several Washington sources confirming that segments of his rally speeches have made their way into terrorist group recruitment videos.
Al-Shabaab, a jihadist terrorist group based in East Africa with bases in Southern Somalia and Yemen, was quoted in 2014 to have between 7-9,000 militants at its disposal. Al-Shabaab – meaning ‘the youth’ is known to have previously pledged allegiance to Al-Queda. The Al-Shabaab recruitment video, targets young black citizens using clips from black US human rights activist and American Muslim minister Malcolm X as well as the footage from white supremacists and also Trump’s speech to urge black youths to convert to Islam and fight in Somalia.
In December, Trump announced that the U.S. should deny entry – and actively send back – all Muslims trying to travel to the country. Naturally, this extremist view was ridiculed in the media and even spawned a petition banning Trump entry to the UK which recover close to a million signatures. Such oratory, or lack thereof, threatens the U.S.’s standing on the world stage as the preeminent superpower.
Yet, strangely, Trump remains on top by a considerable margin, in an otherwise rag-tag race – including George W. Bush’s brother, Jeb, as well as former HP boss Carli Fiorina – for the Republican nomination to take on Clinton or Sanders for the US Presidency this November. RealClearPolitics quotes Trump to be polling at around 35 with second place going to Ted Cruz at 19.5 – a clear double-digit margin advantage. Trump is often considered as an extreme, opinionated figure in U.S. politics; opposed to same-sex marriage and also the idea that climate change is a near and present threat to the global population and economy – Trump insists that the idea is not only untrue but a hoax. Trump has also made speeches denouncing mass emigration from Mexico to the U.S. and was also recently quoted in urging the closure of the U.S. Department of Education in favour of extensive reform to compulsory schooling programs.
What Trump’s vitriol on banning Muslims from the U.S. risks is even greater than the nation’s global standing though, and may be all that is needed to act as the final push over the edge to extremism for some – spouting broad stroke hatred of entire Muslim populations is brash and dangerous and continued use of such ideology and language may undermine the safety and security of U.S. citizens both Stateside (U.S. domestic) and abroad. Trump must watch his step in the coming months because, although he is currently seen as the candidate to which nothing embarrasses, finding that segments of your rally speeches are deemed so crass and offensive that terrorist groups freely use them on recruitment videos to turn more people against the West, must be a line that cannot be crossed.
Imagine, after all that has happened over the course of Obama’s two-term, 8 year Presidency – from the Iran nuclear deal, to securing healthcare for millions under Obamacare (or the official ‘Affordable Healthcare Act’) as well as the passing of legislation of same-sex marriages across the U.S. – the keys to the world’s most powerful office were handed over to one of such extremist, detrimental and often backward views.
Controversy for controversy’s sake is rarely an effective long-term strategy, let alone one that will get you all the way to the White House, but what is more worrying is that Trump may actually believe that this is the best for way forward for the world’s greatest superpower.
That alone is truly terrifying.
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