Trump order has Muslims seeing American Islamophobia
Ban confirms suspicions of many that US perceives Islam as inherently violent
Iranians arrive at Boston’s Logan International Airport on February 5th, after the courts put a stay on the Trump administration’s ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. A revised version of the order keeps Iran on the banned list. Photograph: M Scott Brauer/New York Times
The Trump administration’s revised travel ban on the entry to the US of citizens from six predominantly Muslim countries could confirm the growing belief among Muslims that the US has adopted an Islamophobic policy.
Neither citizens of the six countries nor US citizens who originally came from them have been involved in any of the 13 fatal terrorist incidents in the US since September 2001. Those affected by the ban ask why they are targeted while those with backgrounds in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Jordan and Pakistan – whose nationals have mounted attacks in the US – are not.
Nearly half those affected by the visa ban are from Iran, which had hoped the agreement on the dismantling of Tehran’s nuclear programme would warm relations with the US and bring about wholesale lifting of economic sanctions. The ban shows this will not happen.
Syrians, Yemenis and Libyans are fleeing wars in which the US has been involved, while Somalis and Sudanese suffer from endless conflict in their homelands.
Sudan has expressed regret over the new measure and Iran has extended a ban on visas for US citizens adopted after Donald Trump signed his first version of the immigration order – since set aside by the courts – on January 27th.
Countries not on the exclusion list have also seen their citizens targeted. Nigeria advised nationals to postpone travel to the US after several were repatriated. A couple from Afghanistan and their three children who had migration visas were detained for four days after they arrived at Los Angeles airport last week. Although the the husband had worked for the US in Afghanistan for a decade, he was confined to a maximum security prison.
While less punitive than the original order and drafted to avoid legal challenges, the modified measure confirms the presumption among many Muslims that the US regards them as criminals, radicals or deviants, and sees their faith as inherently violent.
In a comment carried by al-Jazeera, Khaled A Beydoun, a law professor at the University of Detroit, said the ban “effectively instructs [US] citizens to partake in the national project of identifying and punishing ‘the terrorist outsider’”.
Beydoun cited the examples of three Indians, mistaken for Iranians or Arabs, who were shot in incidents in Kansas and Washington state. One man died and two were wounded.
To avoid the panic, confusion, crises at airports and bad publicity generated by the January 27th ban , the new version grants admission to current visa holders and bearers of permanent residence documents from all seven countries, but suspends visas for 90 days for the six listed in the second decree.
The indefinite ban on the entry of Syrian refugees has been made temporary and there are no preferences for minorities, ie Christians. Both orders reduced the number of refugees to be admitted this year from 110,000 to 50,000.