The terrorist group ISIS has reportedly branded President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration “the Blessed Ban” as it seemingly proves that the West is at war with Islam.
New York Times terrorism correspondent Rukmini Callimachi reported from Iraq that ISIS has been talking about Trump’s travel ban, which bars refugees and citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries — identified as hot spots for terrorism — from entering the US.
“I reported here in Nov/Dec of last year,” Callimachi tweeted on Wednesday. “Guess what’s different on this trip? Everywhere I go, Iraqis want to ask about the visa ban.”
Callimachi is in Mosul, ISIS’ stronghold in Iraq that is slowly being liberated from the terrorist group.
She said a resident of western Mosul, which is still under ISIS control, told her translator in a phone call that ISIS is also discussing the ban.
“The resident said ISIS has been openly celebrating the ban,” Callimachi tweeted. “They have even coined a phrase for it: الحظر المبارك — or ‘The Blessed Ban.'”
Callimachi explained why: “ISIS sees this as *their* doing. They succeeded in scaring the daylight out of America.”
“ISIS, according to this resident of Western Mosul, thinks their terror tactic worked. They frightened the most powerful man in the world,” Callimachi said, referring to Trump.
ISIS has been silent on the ban on its official propaganda channels, but the group’s supporters have been cheering it online. But the Pentagon did note on Tuesday that many Iraqi ISIS fighters are now trapped in western Mosul, the area of the city that Callimachi’s source is from.
Terrorism experts opposed to the ban have said it will end up helping ISIS recruit more people as it pushes its message that the West is at war with Islam. US legal actions that seem to target Muslims could play into that narrative.
“The [ISIS] chatrooms have been abuzz about how this shows that there is a clash of civilizations, that Muslims are not welcome in America etc.,” Mia Bloom, a terrorism expert and professor at Georgia State University, told Business Insider via email last week.
Callimachi notes that ISIS’ language is similar to that used by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of ISIS’ predecessor group Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Zarqawi “called the 2003 invasion of Iraq ‘the Blessed Invasion,'” Callimachi said.
Trump defended the travel ban in a rambling speech to the National Sheriffs’ Association on Wednesday morning. He accused judges of trying to overturn the executive order because of politics and pointed to immigration law that seems to support his travel ban.
“I think our security is at risk today, and it will be at risk until such time we are entitled and get what we are entitled to as citizens of this country,” he said. “We want security. One of the reasons I was elected is because of law and order and security.”
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