Did President Trump’s Immigration Executive Order Lead to the Capture of an Islamic State Leader?

No, President Trump's immigration order did not result in the capture of "Rasheed Muhammed" at John F. Kennedy Airport.

  • Published 31 January 2017


As a result of President Trump's January 2017 executive order on immigration, an Islamic State leader was captured at a New York airport.

I have seen a news story popping up on the internet about the arrest of an Isis leader as a direct result of President Trump's recent executive order-the Muslim travel ban. I have done some research and have seen one fact check site debunk it, but they seem less reliable. Could snopes please look into this and see if this story has any amount of truth to it?

Collected via e-mail, January 2017



On 31 January 2017, just days after President Donald Trump signed an executive order  Times.com.mx published an article appearing to report that an Islamic State leader was captured as a result of President Donald Trump’s 27 January 2017 executive order on immigration, earning profuse apologies from former Attorney General Sally Yates as a result: 

Terror suspect, Rasheed Muhammad, was arrested on Tuesday, January 31, at approximately 1:32AM EST at John F. Kennedy International Airport. This marks the first successful story following President Trump’s executive order to protect the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States. Muhammad, 32, was questioned due to the heightened security measures that resulted from the presidential executive order. The suspect attempted to enter the country with a tourist visa and claimed to be visiting family in order to attend this year’s Super Bowl LI.

Former Attorney General, Sally Yates, who was ousted by President Trump after failing to support the executive order, released a public apology via popular social media, Snapchat.

“I would like to express a sincere and utter apology to President Donald J. Trump. Due to unforeseen circumstances, there is no way I could have predicted the outcome of the situation. If afforded the opportunity to continue my position as Attorney General, I would be more than ecstatic to comply.”

 According to the story, Yates’ apology was issued via self-deleting messaging application Snapchat (making it impossible to substantiate) and Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey said that the FBI was waiting to release an official press statement.

The photograph published with the story came from 2009, and shows Najibullah Zazi, not “Rasheed Muhammad,” who does not appear to exist.

Times.com.mx’s claim that an Islamic State operative named Rasheed Muhammed was captured at Kennedy airport in the wake of the entry ban is not the first time the site has spread fake news. Also in January 2017, the outlet reported that drug kingpin El Chapo donated millions of dollars to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. This, too, was false.

The site is one of several that mimics the web addresses and graphics of mainstream news organizations in order to more effectively spread hoaxes.