The way al-Qaida tells it, the West is locked in an existential war with Islam. This is how the terrorist group justifies its violence and its fundamentalist ideology. And now, it has found a Westerner to back them up: top Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

Bannon graced the cover of the most recent al-Qaida-linked Al Masra newspaper. That prominence, University of Oxford researcher Elisabeth Kendall told Quartz, is “striking.”

The piece focused on Bannon’s views of Islam, saying he believes that “the forces of Islam cannot be stopped by peaceful means.” The paper cited a conversation Bannon had with a Danish journalist in May 2016. It also claimed that Bannon believes that the struggle is really between Christianity and Islam, not just Islam and the West. And it suggested that Bannon has “lost confidence in secular Europe, and sees Muslim immigrants as partially responsible for the retreat of traditional Christian values.”

Like other Trump advisers (and former advisers), Bannon has spoken publicly about these beliefs. In 2014, he gave a speech to the Vatican via Skype in which he said, “We’re now, I believe, at the beginning stages of global war against Islamic fascism.” On other occasions, he’s suggested that the “Judeo-Christian West” is at war with “expansionist Islamic ideology.”

On his radio show in 2014, he called for a complete halt to allowing Muslim immigrants into the United States. (”Why even let them in,” he asked then-Rep. Ryan Zinke). And as the Post reported Jan. 31:

“The fact that Al Masra would put this so prominently on the front page – as lead article – indicates it has traction, that this is a way to win support. It plays entirely into their narrative that they were right about the West’s war on Islam all along,” Kendall said. “It shows us how much al-Qaida is trying to capitalize on some of the policies of the Trump administration.”

It’s true that Islamist militants have a soft spot for Trump – his rhetoric, they say, is a useful propaganda and recruiting tool. On election night, Muslim extremists around the world celebrated Trump’s win, suggesting that it might usher in a civil war.

“Rejoice with support from Allah, and find glad tidings in the imminent demise of America at the hands of Trump,” said the Islamic State-affiliated al-Minbar Jihadi Media network, according to the SITE Intelligence Group. “Trump’s win of the American presidency will bring hostility of Muslims against America as a result of his reckless actions, which show the overt and hidden hatred against them.”

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