As one of his first moves since being inaugurated into office, President Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning entry to the United States directed at refugees and others from seven majority Muslim countries, as well as an indefinite ban on entry from Syria. The executive order triggered a huge backlash and immediate protests across the country.
Specifically, the executive order called for a 90 day ban on entry from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It also bans entry from Syria indefinitely as well as a 120 day ban on all refugees. When passed, the order caused some initial chaos at airports across the world, as the wording left out some key information.
Namely, the question as to whether or not travelers with green cards were included in the ban, came into question. The White House later clarified that they were not. Another controversy arose regarding special immigrant visas for Iraqis who worked for the U.S. military in exchange for a promised visa to the country. These travelers will also be allowed a waiver.
The Trump administration's logic behind the immigration ban is that it will improve national security. However, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, most Americans don't feel the ban will make them safer. Many critics say that it is a move fueled solely by racism, given that all the countries on the list have majority Muslim populations.
In reality, few of the terrorist plots against the U.S. since 2001 were attempted by suspects from the seven countries included in the ban. Additionally, about 85 percent of all suspects who attempted any terror-related acts in that period were U.S. citizens or legal residents, and about half were natural-born citizens. So when the administration claims the ban is for national security, it is easy to see why many find that hard to believe.
Far from making us safer, the ban is a boon for ISIS recruitment, according to experts and former jihadists. The basis of the ISIS ideology is that the world should be divided into two camps: Muslims in "the caliphate" and non-Muslims, also known as "the crusaders." Trump's executive order only helps reinforce this narrative, that Muslims do not belong in the West, where they will be mistreated and discriminated against. That Muslims should instead flock to "the caliphate" where they belong.
The previous two administrations sought to make it abundantly clear: the war on terror was in no way a war on Islam. Trump's administration however, seems to have blurred the line. This is both naive and counterproductive.
The ideology of ISIS represents a tiny fraction of the global Muslim community. The only way to defeat ISIS is to do so hand in hand with this majority. The war against ISIS is a war of hearts and minds, and only by alienating ISIS and their ideology can we hope to defeat them.