President-elect Donald Trump's new national security advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn, is drawing support from white nationalists and condemnation from others for his hardline views on Islam.
Flynn, a retired lieutenant general who headed up the Defense Intelligence Agency under Obama, has said that there is no difference between the religion's many branches and fundamentalist extremists. He and other Trump advisers see the West hurtling toward a larger conflict with the Middle East.
"In next 24 hours, I dare Arab & Persian world 'leaders' to step up to the plate and declare their Islamic ideology sick and must B healed," [sic] Flynn tweeted this July, during the presidential election campaign.
"These statements only feed jihadi propaganda by reinforcing their false narrative that the West is at war with Islam," said Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democrat ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, in a statement after learning that Trump had appointed Flynn as his national security advisor.
Schiff said Flynn's "inflammatory remarks regarding Islam" do not "always distinguish between a faith practiced by millions of Americans and important allies around the world, and the perversion of that faith by the likes of ISIS and Al Qaeda".
Schiff said the president-elect would "be best served by a National Security Advisor who brings a steady and thoughtful demeanour to the Oval Office".
Flynn was forced into retirement by the Obama administration in 2014 because, critics said, his management style was chaotic. In a final interview before leaving his post, Flynn said it was actually because of his views on Islamic terrorism. He said he felt like a lone voice in government because he believed the US was less safe from extremist Islamic terrorism in 2014 than it was before the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
During an interview in August 2016, Flynn said "there's a diseased component inside the Islamic world" and that "it's because we, have tried to be, globally, tried to be so political correct". He said it was a mistake for Obama to pull troops out of Iraq in 2011 to comply with a deal with the Iraqi government after the US invaded the country in 2003. The withdrawal began in 2007 under President George W Bush. Flynn also said that he sees radical Islam expanding in the Middle East.
White nationalist and former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke tweeted that Trump's decision to bring Flynn into the West Wing of the White House is a "Great Pick!" because "he knows that the Saudis, ISIS and the Jewish-NeoCons are the real enemies - not Assad and not Russia!"
Flynn's views on Muslims dovetail with the contentious views of Trump's chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, the former head of extreme right-wing news site Brietbart. In a 2014 interview at a conference on poverty at the Vatican, Bannon said that he sees the West as being "at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict".
This conflict will pit the West, he said, "in an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism. And this war is, I think, metastasising far quicker than governments can handle it."