Donald Trump has called Barack Obama the "founder of ISIS," but the mayor of London says it is the GOP nominee who is aiding the Islamic State terror group.
Sadiq Khan, who was elected as mayor of London in May, says Donald Trump's divisive rhetoric about Muslims creates the impression that Islam and the Western world are at war. Khan says that impression helps ISIS recruit potential terrorists across the globe, despite Trump's claims that his tough talk and black and white approach to combating terrorism would bring more results than the efforts of the Obama administration.
"I’m really keen for Donald Trump to come to London because Donald Trump, it appears to me, is under the impression that western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam. I want him to come to London to meet Londoners of Islamic faith who love being British, love being a Londoner, love being a Muslim," Khan told USA TODAY. "I’ve got friends and family in America who are proud Americans, proud Muslims and he needs to recognize that he’s inadvertently playing into the hands of [ISIS] by giving the impression there is a clash between the West and mainstream Muslims. There isn’t."
Khan is the first ethnic minority or Muslim mayor in London's history. He was elected in May by a landslide and notably aims to usher in a number of reforms to public transportation in the city. Khan object to Britain's decision to exit the European Union.
As for Trump, the GOP nominee has repeatedly framed the fight against terrorism as a battle between Western values and Islam. He has proposed a temporary ban on Muslim immigration in response to terror attacks, suggested Muslim Americans are reluctant to report possible terrorism suspects and insisted that Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will never be successful challenging terrorism if they cannot refer to acts of terror as "radical Islamic terrorism."
In June, following the deadly shooting at Orlando's Pulse night club, Obama rejected Trump's critique.
"What exactly would using this language accomplish? What exactly would it change?" Obama asked in a speech at the Treasury Department, before referring to the Islamic State group by the alternate name, ISIL. "Would it make ISIL less committed to try and kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away."
In fact, many intelligence experts have agreed that framing the war against terrorism as a war with Islam alienates potential allies and gives ISIS and others fuel to more easily recruit and radicalize discontented Muslims in Western countries. Even Republican President George W. Bush warned against reinforcing that ideological divide.
Khan has criticized Trump for his rhetoric on Muslims before, making headlines in May for suggesting that Trump's proposed Muslim immigration ban was ignorant. Trump called Khan's comments "very rude." Khan has endorsed Hillary Clinton.