Banned from U.S. for be­ing Mus­lim?

One so­lu­tion is to throw a party

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - BUSINESSES & SERVICES - BY JAMES MCLEOD TC ME­DIA

When U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump an­nounced a travel ban on peo­ple from seven pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim coun­tries en­ter­ing the United States, Pe­gah Me­mar­pour’s re­ac­tion was com­pli­cated.

On the one hand, she was wor­ried. As a dual Cana­di­anIra­nian woman liv­ing in New­found­land and Labrador, she had a trip planned with friends to New Or­leans later this year.

On the other hand, it was a good ex­cuse to throw a party.

“It’s kind of like this hu­mor­ous sort of re­sis­tance, in a way,” she said.

The Face­book event fea­tures photos of Me­mar­pour as though she’s hav­ing a po­lice mugshot taken, hold­ing up a card that says, “Banned from the U.S. FU** Trump.”

She said the whole thing was a joke she had with her room­mate and another friend, and she liked the idea of peo­ple com­ing to­gether, shar­ing a con­nec­tion and hav­ing some drinks in the face of an Is­lamo- pho­bic pol­icy from the world’s most pow­er­ful coun­try.

But un­der­ly­ing the hu­mour, there’s a real sense of con­cern, she said.

By last Mon­day, she’d learned that as a Cana­dian cit­i­zen, she’s still al­lowed to go to the U.S., as long as she’s trav­el­ling on her Cana­dian pass­port.

Even so, she’s not sure if it’s a good idea to visit the U.S. right now.

She was in Iran vis­it­ing fam­ily last Septem­ber, and what if U.S. cus­toms agents ask ques­tions about that sort of thing?

There have been news sto­ries in the past week about bor­der pa­trol of­fi­cers ask­ing peo­ple how they feel about Trump, and po­ten­tially go­ing through peo­ple’s phones, and snoop­ing so­cial me­dia ac­counts.

“This is the be­gin­ning, right? Then you sort of get this eerie feel­ing of, like, what’s next?” Me­mar­pour said. “What hap­pens after this? Do I have to start iden­ti­fy­ing my­self? And all I can think of in my head is Ge­orge Or­well’s ‘1984,’ and you know, what hap­pened in the Holo­caust.”

And then there was the attack on a mosque in Que­bec City ( last) Sun­day evening, where six peo­ple where shot and killed, and another 19 in­jured.

Me­mar­pour said it took a while for it to hit her. In fact, it wasn’t un­til the next day when a friend asked if she’d be go­ing to the sol­i­dar­ity demon­stra­tion last Fri­day be­ing held in sup­port of Mus­lim-Cana­di­ans at the mosque on Logy Bay Road.

“The first thing that popped into my head was, ‘Oh my God, am I go­ing to be safe?’” Me­mar­pour said.

“That’s a weird thing that, like, it hap­pened, and I thought, oh wow, I just thought that. Like, they’re hav­ing a demon­stra­tion for these peo­ple, and to cre­ate a sense of sol­i­dar­ity. … It was kind of like a lit­tle bit of a hit, to me. Like, oh, maybe I am ac­tu­ally af­fected by this. Maybe this is ac­tu­ally scary, you know? How com­fort­able are you go­ing to be hang­ing out with peo­ple you don’t know and be­ing like, yeah, I’m Mus­lim.”

SUB­MIT­TED

The photo for Pe­gah Me­mar­pour’s “Banned from the U.S.” party. As a dual Cana­dian-Ira­nian cit­i­zen, Me­mar­pour is wor­ried about a planned trip to the United States later this year.

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