Al-Qaeda and ISIS Must Be Laughing at Trump’s Muslim Ban

By Bridget Johnson, Originally published in Real Clear Politics

Sun Tzu said “all warfare is based on deception,” and that rings especially true for terrorists’ strategy.

Long before a proposal to temporarily yet indefinitely ban Muslims from entering the United States sparked support and scorn in a frenzied presidential campaign season, al-Qaeda and ISIS already had the workaround in place. Terror groups have been extremely frank in publicly available jihadi guides about how to evade religion-based suspicion, with directives that would surprise Americans who believe Islamist terrorists are required to wear “Allahu Akbar” on their sleeve.

The spring 2014 issue of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire magazine, which has served as a practical how-to handbook for “open-source jihadists” such as the Boston Marathon bombers, recommended striking non-landmark targets such as festivals and Christmas events. To strike most effectively, the magazine advised, dress up like jolly St. Nick, complete with a Santa beard, and join others celebrating the Christian holiday.

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