Trump faces travel ban uproar, warns Iran after missile test

US federal judgegranted nationwide temporary restraining order blocking Trump’s ban, leading White House to say it would file emergency appeal.

Demonstrators protesting against Trump’s executive order


2017/02/05 Issue: 92 Page: 1


The Arab Weekly
Thomas Seibert



Washington - US President Donald Trump provoked a ma­jor uproar when he an­nounced an executive or­der banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The order triggered an unprecedented popular show of empathy for Ameri­can Muslims, a minority that says it is often treated with suspicion.

“There is a huge wave of support” from non-Muslims, said Samer Khalaf, national president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), a lobby group in Washington. “The people who are out there demonstrating are mostly non-Muslim.”

A US federal judge in Seat­tle, Washington, on February 3rd granted a nationwide temporary restraining order blocking Trump’s ban, leading the White House to say it would file an emergency appeal, claiming the move to be “lawful and appropriate”.

Following Trump’s announce­ment, which affects people from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, thousands of demonstrators turned up at airports around the country demanding the release of passengers from affected countries who were detained after their arrival in the United States.

Riham Osman, a communica­tions strategist for the Muslim Pub­lic Affairs Council (MPAC), posted on Twitter: “This is what America looks like” as protesters at Wash­ington Dulles International Airport cheered every time a woman in a hijab walked by.

Trump argued that the ban, which he had vowed throughout the presi­dential campaign to enact if elected, is necessary to keep Americans safe from Islamic terrorists. Many in the United States, however, say the step is a sign of Islamophobia and vio­lates basic American values, such as the freedom of religion. Reportedly, neither US intelligence agencies nor the US Department of Homeland Se­curity were briefed prior to Trump’s announcement.

The president fanned the flames by declaring that he was willing to help Christian refugees even as he was rejecting Muslims. “We are go­ing to help them,” Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network in response to a question about Chris­tians in Syria, a country included in Trump’s ban and by another order halting the acceptance of Syrian ref­ugees indefinitely.

Washington was among four states — Massachusetts, New York and Virginia the others — that have mounted legal challenges to the rul­ing and attorneys general from 16 states said the executive order was “un-American and unlawful”. A fed­eral judge in New York has also ruled that the detention of people who ar­rived in the United States on valid visas was illegal.

Just more than half — 51% — of Americans asked said they disap­proved of Trump’s immigration or­der, a CBS News poll released Feb­ruary 3rd indicated, while 45% said they approved of the travel ban.

The new US administration has also taken a tough position against Iran. Michael Flynn, Trump’s na­tional security adviser, announced that the president had put Iran “on notice” after Tehran conducted a ballistic missile test that Flynn said violated UN resolutions.

On Febru­ary 3rd, the Trump administration meted out sanctions against com­panies and individuals in Iran and China it said supported Tehran’s ballistic missile programme and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Iran pledged to “vigorously” con­tinue its missile activity regardless of the US warning.


Thomas Seibert is an Arab Weekly contributor in Istanbul.


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