President Trump has recently issued an executive order titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days as well as entry of people from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen for 90 days and from Syria indefinitely, regardless of visa.

Juan Cole claims:

No immigrant from any of the seven countries Trump named has been guilty of terrorism on US soil in this century.

Is it true that no immigrant from any of the seven countries Trump named in his executive order has been guilty of terrorism on US soil?

  • 4
    What do you mean by "been guilty of terrorism"? Do you mean ANY terrorism-related charges (i.e. sending money to ISIS) or violent action or violent action that result in death? The answer might vary pretty widely.
    – rougon
    Jan 29, 2017 at 18:41

5 Answers 5


3 March 2006 Iranian born Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar committed a terrorist attack at University of North Carolina. He personally acknowledged his "foreign nationality" and birth in Tehran, Iran in a letter.

In the letter, he also stated:

I have decided to take advantage of my presence on United States soil on Friday, March 3, 2006 to take the lives of as many Americans and American sympathizers as I can

After this, there was no similar attack in the US for over 10 years.

Then, 4 November 2016 I brought up this attack again by asking a Stack Exchange question, which was migrated to IslamSE.

Then, 28 November 2016 the attack was copied by Somali citizen Abdul Razak Ali Artan.


Is it true that no immigrant from any of the seven countries Trump named in his executive order has been guilty of terrorism on US soil?

Donald Trump only named one country in his executive order: Syria. The seven countries (including Syria) were originally named by the Obama administration. So the claim is false on its face, as it misrepresents the executive order. But that's arguably a technicality. There have been two Somali refugees recently (in the last year) who died while committing acts of mass murder.

Daesh claims that the Minnesota mall attack was a terrorist action. From CNN:

The man who stabbed nine people at a Minnesota mall Saturday before being shot dead by an off-duty police officer was a "soldier of the Islamic state," according to an ISIS-linked news agency.

The statement posted online Sunday by the Amaq agency follows a pattern of ISIS-related media claiming responsibility for what appear to be the acts of individuals across Europe in the past few months.

CNN cannot independently confirm this latest claim.

Even if not terrorism, it was certainly a mass homicide by a Somali refugee. From The Hill:

His father told the Star Tribune that Adan was born in Kenya but grew up in the U.S. Ahmed Adan, who is Somali, said his son came to the U.S. 15 years ago, according to the Associated Press.

So he was born to Somali refugees in Kenya and grew up in the United States. Perhaps that might not technically refute the claim, but it is quite close.

And of course, the 2016 Ohio State University attack was committed by another Somali refugee. From CNN:

In a Facebook post shortly before the Monday morning rampage, the Somali immigrant urged America "to stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah," a term for Muslim people at large.

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    Downvotes for the huge nitpick on 'who named the countries'. Edit that out and I remove it. Jan 30, 2017 at 3:45
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    @DJClayworth strongly disagree, I think it's a very germane point.
    – Aaron Hall
    Jan 30, 2017 at 4:19
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    There really is no reason to down vote this. It just seems some don't like there favorite talking point to be pointed out as untrue
    – user36356
    Jan 30, 2017 at 12:42
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    I don't even see the Obama part as the biggest issue. The largest problem here is that the order does not in and of itself name the seven countries. It piggybacks on previous legislation. This could of course be avoided by picking a better claim on which to hang the question. But as is, we're stuck with this claim which is false before even reaching the thing that most want to know.
    – Brythan
    Jan 31, 2017 at 0:44
  • 1
    @DJClayworth who named the countries is relevant because of the way the question title is worded. Aug 28, 2017 at 4:42

According to a 22 June 2016 Senate subcommittee report:

580 individuals [have been] convicted of terrorism or terrorism-related offenses between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2014


380 of the 580 were foreign-born (71 were confirmed natural-born, and the remaining 129 are not known). Of the 380 foreign-born, at least 24 were initially admitted to the United States as refugees, and at least 33 had overstayed their visas. Additionally, of those born abroad, at least 62 were from Pakistan, 28 were from Lebanon, 22 were Palestinian, 21 were from Somalia, 20 were from Yemen, 19 were from Iraq, 16 were from Jordan, 17 were from Egypt, and 10 were from Afghanistan.


Emanuel Kidega Samson of Khartoum, Sudan shot 7 people at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ on September 24th, 2017.

  • 1
    You could have an 'after the statement' section, the juan cole dude nay saying the president didn't have a crystal ball at the time
    – daniel
    Sep 25, 2017 at 20:13
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    Implicitly​ I think the question meant "at the time the ban was instituted" Sep 26, 2017 at 2:09
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    I agree with @DJClayworth. This doesn't answer the question because the incident happened after the fact. In addition, the perpetrator appears to have been a permanent resident, in which case he would not have been subject to the ban (except in some earlier interpretations, which the administration abandoned).
    – phoog
    Sep 27, 2017 at 22:21


Even if Mr. Cole had stated that the acts were just those that were committed on US soil he would be wrong. To get a truthful point one must say: no foreign born terrorist has killed an American on American soil and been convicted in a US court of terrorism. There have been successful attacks that only maimed and caused grievous bodily harm. And there have been several convictions of terrorists on US soil for their acts here.

A partial list of the most important terrorist attacks in America since 9-11 includes:

Other attempts include:

  • Ten Somalis, the so-called Minnesota Men, were arrested and convicted on terrorism charges recently.

  • Fox News reports about terrorists coming from Iraq last year.

    Two Iraqi men who allegedly lied their way past U.S. immigration officials and continued their terrorist-related activities after being admitted as refugees are the latest evidence that a flawed screening process is putting Americans at risk, critics say.

    Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, moved to the U.S. in 2012, only to return to the Middle East twice to fight for Al Nursra, was allegedly recorded by the FBI boasting about executing members of the Syrian Army and their Russian allies. Wiretaps, made while he moved from Arizona to Wisconsin and then California, captured him stating he wanted to return to Syria because he was "eager to see blood.”

    • CBS News found other examples of the failed Iraqi vetting process.

    • ABC found more Iraqis terrorists in Kentucky.

Other terrorist attacks perpetrated by foreign born include the UNC terrorist attack perpetrated by an Iranian, who became naturalized.

Another Somali terrorist attack in Minnesota

  • 11
    I would suggest a bit more careful language might answer the question better. You present a lot of things as facts that are suspicions. i.e. the ABC piece on KY. is "may have been" not "found." The "Minnesota Men" were found guilty of seeking to travel to join ISIS. The Fox report is similar. The men mentioned in the CBS story had similar charges (and last I checked, the question had nothing to do with successful or failed vetting).
    – rougon
    Jan 29, 2017 at 18:47
  • 1
    Convictions aren't suspicion. They are the definition of fact.
    – user36356
    Jan 30, 2017 at 11:30
  • If you read the articles that you link to, they don't always talk about convictions. I was not saying your answer is invalid but imprecise.
    – rougon
    Jan 30, 2017 at 13:17
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    @KDog I think the first word of your answer "No" is confusing, because the title question is "Has any immigrant from any of the countries named in Trump's executive order been guilty of terrorism on US soil?". Many people focus on the title question, without reading the body of the question.
    – DavePhD
    Jan 30, 2017 at 16:16
  • 2
    Making a point of whether the perpetrator "has been convicted" is misleading, because most of the time the terrorist dies during the act (either committing suicide or being killed by an officer).
    – Brilliand
    Sep 25, 2017 at 20:57

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