Biggest terror threat is homegrown says U of C study

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new study from the University of Chicago, called The American Face of ISIS, concluded that the biggest terror threat in the US is homegrown.

While it is timely, researchers at the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats have been working on the study for several months. It analyzed over 100 people indicted by the US Justice Department for ISIS-related offenses. The study's findings do not fit the current narrative from the White House.

President Trump's travel ban is almost a week old and, despite the chaos it has brought, Trump is convinced banning people from seven Muslim countries is the key to keeping America safe.

"Stopping immigration from Islamic countries won't prevent ISIS attacks in the United States," said Dr. Robert Pape of the University of Chicago Project of Security and Threats.

Terrorism expert Dr. Robert Pape said Trump is fighting an old battle. After 9/11, the US government reduced the oversees threat with tighter immigration policies.

A study released by the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats concluded the face of ISIS in the United States today is homegrown. Out of 112 individuals indicted on ISIS-related crimes in the past three years: 85 percent were American citizens, 64 percent were American born and only 4 percent were foreign nationals.

"ISIS terrorists in America are walk-in volunteers motivated to join the group by the group's propaganda," said Dr. Pape.

Dr. Robert Pape said propaganda like the over 1400 videos produced by ISIS.

The study said many of the accused terrorists didn't come from Muslim communities, they converted to Islam and radicalized at the same time after watching videos on-line.

Because the videos claim America is at war with Islam, Dr. Pape said there is no better recruiting tool than the travel ban.

"ISIS doesn't need to produce a video, all people need to do is turn on the TV and watch the Trump administration talk about the ban; this is the best propaganda for ISIS," said Dr. Pape.

Dr. Pape said Trump has already appeared in ISIS recruiting videos. The study also found that ISIS recruits almost four times as many individuals as al-Qaida.

While Dr. Pape hopes the president rescinds the travel ban, there are no plans to do so at this time.
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