Trump, Conway
Kellyane Conway with US President Donald Trump.Reuters

United States President Donald Trump's advisor Kellyane Conway denfended his executive order of a sweeping refugee travel ban on Thursday (February 2) by citing a non-existent "massacre" committed by refugees.

"I bet it's brand new information to people that President Obama had a 6-month ban on the Iraqi refugee programme after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalised and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. It didn't get covered," Conway said in a TV interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews.

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However, what was curious about her statements was that none of it actually happened. The Obama administration did not ban the refugee programme and there is no such thing as the "Bowling Green massacre". The ban Conway was referencing to was a 2011 action taken by the Obama administration to put a a pause on the processing of refugees from Iraq after two Iraqi nationals were arrested over a failed attempt to send money and weapons to al-Qaida in Iraq.

Reports state that Conway, in her interview, may have been referring to the two Iraqis who lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky—Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi—who were granted refugee status when they came to the US in 2009. Both the men were reportedly arrested in May 2011 in a series of terrorism charges and were sentenced two years later after they pleaded guilty.

However, it was later found out that they were not planning to committ an act of terrorism on US soil. They were instead attempting to get weapons to al Qaeda in Iraq. The men were terrorists but they were not planning to attack anyone in the US, and they did not kill anyone in Bowling Green either.

The US Department of Justice, announcing their convictions in 2012, had said: "Neither was charged with plotting attacks within the United States."

According to the Cato Institute analysis of terrorist attacks on US soil between 1975 and 2015, the nationals of the seven Muslim-majority countries targetted by Trump in his refugee ban—Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia—have not killed any Americans, the Guardian reported.

The US president's executive actions on extreme vetting and visa ban applies to migrants, refugees and US legal residents—green-card holders—from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Libya and Yemen. There is an indefinite ban on the arrival of Syrian refugees. Trump cited "terrorism concerns" as the reason behind passing the order.