Trump’s travel ban will alienate Muslims, incite hardliners

No individual from the seven countries restricted by the US' latest travel ban has attacked American people or interests.

 |  3-minute read |   31-01-2017
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US president Donald Trump, through an executive order, has suspended the entry of refugees into the country, imposing a travel ban on citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

The decree has led to utter chaos across the US and outside as passengers have either been stranded or prevented from boarding flights to the American country.

Trump bases the reason for the restriction on the 9/11 attacks.

Ironically, no individual from the seven countries has ever attacked citizens of the US or its interests.

They are refugees escaping prosecution, war and violence — especially those from Iraq and Yemen, where war was started or supported by the US itself. This highly divisive order discriminates on the basis of religion.

islamophobia_013117031435.jpg The tone and tenor of the order explicitly indicates that the Islamophobia and xenophobia that had come to characterise Trump’s bid for presidency are likely to continue. Photo: Reuters

Even though the document does not explicitly mention any religion in particular, it sets an abominable standard by excluding Muslims whereas exercising discretion to take in individuals of other faiths.

It instructs officials to prioritise refugee claims “made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality”.

In effect, this means a Christian or Jew from the barred countries will be allowed entry.

This is a very dangerous precedent to set and unequivocally states: the Trump administration doesn’t care for Muslim lives, particularly those it had a huge role in tearing apart.

Trump says he intends to give priority to Christians.

The tone and tenor of the order explicitly indicates that the Islamophobia and xenophobia that had come to characterise Trump’s bid for presidency are likely to continue.

The order states: “The United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles.”

It essentially means all Muslims should be considered a threat, more than any other community.

This would only strengthen the hands of extremists and radical elements who portray the West, particularly the United States, as being anti-Muslim.

The land of opportunity is being sought to be converted into the land of prejudice and bias — well, Americans have themselves voted him to power and had made no bones about his extremely partisan and convoluted world view even during his run for presidency.

Trump’s order plays directly into the hands of elements antithetical to the US and thus makes Americans vulnerable to hate crime within the country and outside.

Ironically, the order which claims to spare Americans of acts of violence against women and those who persecute people on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation comes from a president who brags about sexually assaulting women.

The inhuman order was issued on the Holocaust Remembrance Day, when refugees fleeing the Nazis were once provided a haven in the US — in crass indifference to history.

Can the constitution of one of the world’s biggest democracies be mocked thus?

Neither the US constitution nor any other in the civilised world will allow for such religious discrimination and prosecution.

The order inflicts irreparable damage on the very values that the US prides itself in and seeks to spread. The reputation of the US as a country of dreams and aspirations is at stake. Can the American people afford this?


Muqbil Ahmar Muqbil Ahmar @muqbil_ahmar

The writer is a theatre activist, film critic and blogger who wants to bring harmony in society. Music, poetry and food are his passions.

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