L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs



VCU terrorism expert: Trump’s travel ban hands ISIL a powerful recruiting tool

By Brian McNeill

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday that temporarily halts the admission of refugees and blocks entry into the United States for people from the Muslim-majority countries Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

William Pelfrey, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of homeland security and emergency preparedness at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, said Trump’s action will make the U.S. and other Western countries less safe.

“President Trump's recent action banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries has serious terrorism and homeland security ramifications. The intent is to protect America by‌ keeping dangerous persons out of the country,” Pelfrey said. “The reality is that virtually no dangerous people have come to the United States from those countries and the downside is much more serious than the upside.”

“I expect that terrorist leaders, particularly in organizations like ISIL and the Muslim Brotherhood, are rejoicing,” he said. “They are telling recruits ‘See how scared the infidels are of us! Join the Jihad!’ This act will also push our allies in Iraq (one of the countries included in the ban) away from the United States. The number of potentially radicalized persons has just gone up dramatically and I'm worried about the consequences for terrorism in America and other western countries.”