Islamic State radio has dubbed Omar Mateen, who killed 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando Sunday, “one of the soldiers of the caliphate in America,” the Associated Press reports. Whether ISIS is accepting Mateen’s declaration of loyalty as a simple matter of convenience remains an open question, however.

Rukmini Callimachi, a reporter for the New York Times who focuses on ISIS and al-Qaeda, posted a translated excerpt of Monday’s announcement on Twitter:

The brother Omar Mateen, one of the soldiers of the Caliphate in America, carried out a security raid in which he was able to enter into a gathering of Crusaders in a nightclub for followers of the people of Lot [homosexuals] in Orlando, Florida.

Allah enabled him to subdue the impure Crusaders, killing & wounding more than 100 of them before he was killed - may Allah accept him.

It should be pointed out that this invasion is the largest in America in terms of number killed.

Mateen reportedly called 911 before entering the nightclub, Pulse, to pledge his allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. On Sunday, a news agency associated with the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

It would not be the first time that the organization retroactively accepted a loyalty oath from an assailant with which it had no real contact and to whom it had provided no support. Last year, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik pledged allegiance to ISIS on social media before killing 14 people at a social services clinic in San Bernardino. From the Guardian:

Isis subsequently accepted that pledge, though it came from two individuals who had no previous contact with the group, and thus accepted responsibility – as well as credit among supporters of Islamic militancy – for the attack.

This was in line with the longstanding Isis strategy of seeking to inspire sympathisers to do whatever they can wherever they find themselves, particularly if they are unable to perform their duty of hijra (migration) and relocate to the caliphate.

Isis also made it clear that the shooting had not been commissioned by senior commanders in the Middle East, as was the case with the Paris attacks in November. This suggests that Isis felt clearly that the fact that it was inspiring distant attackers was worth emphasising as a vindication of its ideology and strategy, as well to inspire greater fear among Americans.

Last month, in a speech made annually, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani specifically encouraged such ‘lone wolf’ attacks during the holy month of Ramadan. “The smallest action you do in the heart of their land is dearer to us than the largest action by us,” he said, “and more effective and more damaging to them.”

“There are no innocents in the heart of the lands of the Crusaders,” al-Adnani added. “Do not ask for anyone’s permission.”

In a report issued following al-Adnani’s address, the State Department’ Overseas Security Advisory Council warned Americans abroad that “martyrdom during the month may hold a special allure to some,” the Boston Herald reported at the time. It also noted that ISIS declared its caliphate during Ramadan of 2014.

“I think what the Islamic State has done is very clever,” Charlie Winter, senior research associate at Georgia State University’s Transcultural Conflict and Violence Initiative, told the Times’ Callimachi. “And that is create a situation where someone can carry out an attack without any direct link to the organization.”

“They can pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before or during, and that catapults them from being a self-starter jihadist guy, or girl, to someone who can be lionized as a soldier of the Islamic State and regarded as a warrior.”

Jihadis on Twitter celebrated Sunday’s attack, Callimachi reports, many changing their avatars to Mateen’s face.