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Homeland Security

Jihadists Could Use US Travel Restrictions as Recruiting Lure, Analysts Say

By Hasib Danish Alikozai, Steve Miller February 04, 2017

Jihadist groups like Islamic State and al-Qaida could use the controversy over the disputed U.S. travel ban on seven Muslim-majority nations as a way to recruit followers, according to some analysts.

U.S. President Donald Trump vowed Saturday to overturn a federal judge's order temporarily blocking his executive order banning travel to the U.S. from several Middle Eastern countries. He called the ruling "ridiculous."

The Trump Administration has been arguing the ban on those seven nations is temporary in nature until a broader policy is developed.

But as protests and legal wrangling over the ban continue, some analysts are concerned that terrorist organizations will be using the controversy to expand their reach.

The SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S.-based terror monitor, wrote that jihadists said President Donald Trump's executive order, which set in motion the temporary ban, revealed "America's hatred towards Muslims."

The White House has said the restrictions are about safety and protecting the U.S. border. Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Somalia and Sudan are the affected countries.

While highly unpopular overseas, the 90-day ban on citizens of those countries is supported by roughly one-half of all Americans, according to polls, and is consistent with repeated promises made by Trump during his election campaign.

Homeland Security Chief John Kelly said at a news conference this past week that the ban is not aimed specifically at Muslims, adding his agency's mission "is to safeguard the American people, our homeland, our values."

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