(Photo: iStockPhoto; Wikimedia Commons; Taylor Le/Pacific Standard)
Hillary Clinton has just denounced Donald Trump’s treatment of Muslim Americans. “It’s dangerous to be engaging in the kind of demagogic rhetoric that Donald has about Muslims,” Clinton said.
Trump’s response: “Extreme vetting.” He also said Syrians are coming in by the “tens of thousands.” Then he brought up his favorite Trojan Horse metaphor.
Beyond that, this sort of fear-mongering could play right into ISIS’ hands. Trump’s blustery statements have become prime recruiting material for ISIS, a group all too capable of translating American xenophobia into Western opposition as an enrollment tactic. As Jared Kellerwrote for Pacific Standard last year:
The Islamophobic backlash running through the West is all but a recruitment windfall for jihadists everywhere. It’s part of the logic of the Islamic State designed to build a new generation of loyal militants, a push that lends credence to the idea that, while American arch-conservatives flip out about refugees (like Ted Cruz, who called for a moratorium on U.S. refugee programs, or ex-Bush speechwriter David Frum, who tweeted “maybe guard the border before the massacre”), it’s actually the Muslim world that’s under attack from the West — a narrative that has very real ideological roots.
Or, as Clinton put it, in reference to her Republican opponent: “This is a gift to ISIS and the terrorists.”