Trump’s ban as a propaganda tool for ISIS, al-Qaeda, other jihadis?

Do you think that President Donald Trump executive order regarding banning citizens of 7 predominately Muslim countries and refugees from entering the US might be a good propagandistic tool for ISIS, al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups or not, why? Read few comments.

Amarnath Amarasingam, Fellow, Program on Extremism, George Washington University’s. Co-Director of a Study of Western Foreign Fighters, University of Waterloo

While ISIS hasn’t yet mentioned Trump or the Muslim ban in their propaganda, it’s really only a matter of time. For them, and other jihadist groups, Trump is the “real America” – other leaders like Obama and Bush also hated Muslims but at least pretended to separate “terrorism” from “Islam”. Trump, according to ISIS, is more honest and is not scared to say what American “really” thinks. By making this argument, they hope that American Muslims will come to see ISIS and other groups as the answer to the Muslim plight. They will “wake up” and realize that America’s argument that they “love Muslims” but “hate terrorism” is a false separation. That America has always seen Islam and terrorism as one and the same. Trump just makes this more clear, and they hope mainstream Muslims will realize it for themselves.

James M. DorseySenior Fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University

There is little doubt that the ban is perceived by Muslims across the globe as blanket targeting. It leaves Muslims with a sense of being on the defensive and discriminated against and feeds the belief that the West is anti-Muslim. That is the narrative of militant and ultra-conservative as well as jihadist groups. As such, the blanket ban does little to win hearts and minds and contributes to strengthening violent as well as non-violent ultra-conservative strands of Islam, none of which contribute to more tolerant, more inclusive worldviews.

Adrian Guelke, Emeritus Professor, Institute for the Study of Conflict, Transformation and Social Justice, Queen’s University of Belfast

I don’t have an answer to your question, though I imagine the audience these organisations try to reach are unlikely to be directly affected. That doesn’t rule out the bans having symbolic significance for their followers, so it is possible they may consider it relevant to refer to the bans in their propaganda output. I think the right way to research this issue is to see what appears in their magazines and how much they make of the issue in comparison with other topics. There may be some variation in the reactions of different groups.
Slightly tangential to all of this, I remember hearing a famous Indian general at the sharp end of counter-insurgency complaining angrily about the stupidity of visa restrictions on Pakistanis wishing to come to India, mainly businessmen who wanted to visit the country for commercial purposes. He pointed out acidly that jihadis infiltrating Indian Kashmir didn’t apply for visas or, for that matter, bother with passports at all. This was about a decade ago.

Bart Schuurman, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, Leiden University

I do think that the executive order is a propaganda tool for extremist groups, precisely because it is easily portrayed as being a measure to keep Muslims out of the United States, feeding the extremist narrative that the US/West is waging a war on Islam.


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