Trump faces travel ban uproar, warns Iran after missile test
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.