The Islamic State group is happy about Donald Trump's presidential election. The militants plan to use the Republican's rhetoric against Muslims to spur its own recruiting efforts, Reuters reported Monday.
A top ranking militant in Afghanistan told Reuters Trump's words would easily help add to the ranks of the group also known as ISIS. Trump has repeatedly called for a ban, or extreme vetting, of Muslims entering the U.S. and said he would "bomb the s--- out" of ISIS.
"This guy is a complete maniac," said Abu Omar Khorasani. "His utter hate towards Muslims will make our job much easier because we can recruit thousands."
A Shi'ite Muslim cleric in Iraq offered similar views. "[Trump] does not differentiate between extremist and moderate Islamist trends and, at the same time, he overlooks (the fact) that his extremism will generate extremism in return," Moqtada al-Sadr said.
Nearly a year ago and less than a week after a shooting rampage by two ISIS supporters in San Bernardino, California, killed 14 people, Trump called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." He has since toned the ban down to "extreme vetting."
The scenario of a Trump presidency stimulating ISIS recruiting efforts was first reported this past summer. Foreign Affairs magazine interviewed a dozen ISIS organizers about what Trump in the White House would mean for the militant group, and they all agreed it would bring an all-out war between Islam and the West closer to reality.
"I ask Allah to deliver America to Trump," one said. "The 'facilitation' of Trump’s arrival in the White House must be a priority for jihadists at any cost!" another added.
Some U.S. officials have also been apprehensive that Trump's comments could help recruiting for ISIS, the Daily Beast reported. ISIS has been fighting off airstrikes and ground troops in Iraq and Syria, as well as elsewhere. As the group's ranks get diminished from combat, Trump's presidency could be what helps bring on new fighters, they said.
Making Islam about terror is "not very helpful if we are talking about a lasting ISIS defeat," one Defense Department official told the Daily Beast. "They will say, 'Join us. America has declared war on Islam.'"