President Donald Trump's controversial executive order which banned refugees worldwide and visitors from seven Muslim-majority nations has been praised by ISIS as "the Blessed Ban."
As New York Times correspondent Rukmini Callimachi notes, the reaction of ISIS is similar to Al Qaeda's reference to the 2003 invasion of Iraq as "the Blessed Invasion," reports Business Insider.
Callimachi said that jihadists in Mosul -- an ISIS stronghold in Iraq -- have been celebrating the ban ever since Trump declared it on Jan. 27. “Everywhere I go, Iraqis want to ask about the visa ban,” she said.
A resident of Mosul quoted by Callimachi said: “ISIS sees this as their doing. They succeeded in scaring the daylight out of America. They frightened the most powerful man in the world." The source added that the ban proves to ISIS and its followers that America really does hate Islam.
Similar sentiments have appeared on pro-ISIS social media accounts, reports The Washington Post.
One posting hailed the U.S. president as “the best caller to Islam." A posting on the Telegram channel “Abu Magrebi” said Trump's ban “clearly revealed the truth and harsh reality behind the American government’s hatred toward Muslims.”
These reactions have caused much concern among terrorism experts.
Professor Mia Bloom of the Middle East Studies Center at Georgia State University told Business Insider: "The [ISIS] chatrooms have been abuzz about how this shows that there is a clash of civilizations, that Muslims are not welcome in America.”
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that the ban "will probably in some areas give ISIS some more propaganda."
Robert Richer, former head of the CIA's Near East division during the George W. Bush administration, called the ban a “strategic mistake." He added: “This was a win for jihadists and other anti-U.S. forces. It fuels the belief out there that Americans are anti-Islam. Otherwise, it accomplishes nothing, because the ones we are most concerned about can still get to the United States.”