Trump may soon become a mascot for Isis, and here’s why. It now emerged that Somalia’s al-Shabaab militants are using Donald Trump in a recruiting film, by urging American Muslims to see how their own country will turn against them – and to instead fight against America by staying there.

When Donald Trump entered America’s 2016 presidential race, voters were probably hopeful of a leader who would potentially address their concerns regarding business regulations, jobs and even possibly the country’s economic stature.  Interestingly, as Trump’s political campaign progresses, it appears that the business tycoon is highly impassioned about a different ideal altogether. Contrary to popular expectations, Trump is using religion to define and defend his political goals and beliefs.

Trump and Islamophobia

After he declared his garish idea of banning all Muslims from travelling to the U.S. in December 2015, he further cemented his discriminative approach against minorities. He claimed this policy was justified in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack. Just for the record, post the attack, the San Bernardino police chief Jarrod Burguan said, “We have no information to indicate that this is terrorism in the traditional sense; obviously at a minimum we have a domestic terrorism situation.”  How effective would it be for Trump to bar international entry of Muslims into the U.S., then?

For the skeptical ones who believe that this statement could have been just a slip of Trump’s tongue, there is an interesting fact to share. Soon after Trump’s statement, his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski shared further details about the potential ban on Muslims. He said that Trump’s proposed ban would apply to “everybody”, – right from Muslims seeking immigration visas to tourists wishing to enter the country. According to reports, another team member from Trump’s campaign reiterated that the ban would include American Muslims who were currently overseas – possibly even members of the military and diplomatic service. However, Trump goes on to unabashedly pacify potential Muslim voters who could decide his presidential fate – by saying on Fox News, “this does not apply to people living in the country.” However, he stands by the idea of creating a government database of all American Muslims.

Mocking minorities

Trump’s stand on religious affiliation does not only include Islam. He also seems to have colorful statements to share about any other religion practiced by minorities, which does not adhere to mainstream religious beliefs. A shining example of this would be his religiously-toned remarks about other politicians.

To illustrate, here’s what Trump had to say about why Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election. According to Trump, Romney suffered this loss because Christian voters were put off by his alien faith. Besides this, Trump also took a dig at Ted Cruz, possibly trying to snub his rise in the Iowa polls, by referring to the senator’s Cuban heritage, “I do like Ted Cruz, but not a lot of evangelicals come out of Cuba.”

In his startling speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition in December, Trump made a boisterous attempt to showcase his defiant distance from the Republican establishment by saying, “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money.”

It is clear that Trump’s political campaign is attempting to gain an edge over competitors not through Trump’s entrepreneurial success or money-making finesse – which would have been enough to capture the imagination of American voters struggling for jobs and a high standard of living. Instead, Trump is using the global anxiety over religious extremism and its ensuing violence – to create a false, Trump- trademark solution where all of America’s problems can be solved if Muslims and all other minorities practicing different religions stop existing or travelling into America. For any competent voter, it is easy to see how this agenda could make America a highly intolerant and regressive country.

Trump has now announced that he will not be attending the Fox News debate on Thursday, also claiming that Fox and other television networks are taking advantage of his stature by selling advertisements for their debates at a high premium. However, many could see this as Trump’s avoidance of a face-to-face confrontation with the debate moderators, which could impact the credibility of Trump’s strongly-worded opinions and statements till date.

In any case, Trump does seem to need some time to think about where exactly he wants his presidential campaign to head, and what impact his religious ideology will have on the country and minorities around the globe.