Banned from U.S. for being Muslim?
One solution is to throw a party
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.”
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.