Amer­i­can Mus­lims de­cry Trump travel ban

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Amer­i­can Mus­lim lead­ers Fri­day de­cried Don­ald Trump’s rhetoric to­wards their com­mu­nity and pre­dicted the pres­i­dent’s travel ban would even­tu­ally be proven un­law­ful, a day af­ter a weak­ened ver­sion of the mea­sure came into force. A lim­ited ver­sion of Trump’s travel ban - tem­po­rar­ily bar­ring refugees and vis­i­tors from Iran, Libya, So­ma­lia, Su­dan, Syria and Ye­men - took ef­fect on Thurs­day, af­ter the US Supreme Court al­lowed it to be en­forced pend­ing a full hear­ing in Oc­to­ber.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion says the ban is nec­es­sary to keep ter­ror­ists out of the coun­try, but im­mi­grant ad­vo­cates charge that it il­le­gally sin­gles out Mus­lims - in line with cam­paign pledges by Trump to bar all Mus­lims from the coun­try. Lead­ers of the Is­lamic So­ci­ety of North Amer­ica, which claims to be the largest Mus­lim ad­vo­cacy group on the con­ti­nent, slammed the ban as they gath­ered for a week­end con­ven­tion in Chicago. “His state­ments and his rhetoric have caused a great amount of harm to the Amer­i­can Mus­lim com­mu­nity,” said Azhar Azeez, pres­i­dent of the ISNA, which be­lieves the ban will ul­ti­mately be proven un­con­sti­tu­tional. “This coun­try has al­ways been an in­clu­sive na­tion, a tol­er­ant na­tion,” Azeez said, “and we as Amer­i­cans have an obli­ga­tion to make sure we up­hold all these things.”

Con­ven­tion at­tendee Ar­ishaa Khan said even those who are not di­rectly af­fected by the ban - be­cause they are not from the six tar­geted coun­tries - are nev­er­the­less af­fected by its broader im­pli­ca­tions. “This ban has been tu­mul­tuous,” the 27-year-old Amer­i­can cit­i­zen from Pak­istan said, adding that she sees friends and fam­ily “post­ing on Face­book be­fore they go on in­ter­na­tional flights, ask­ing for lawyers to be on standby”.

Sev­eral par­tic­i­pants said they had been heart­ened by the show of sup­port by Amer­i­cans of many re­li­gious de­nom­i­na­tions, with mem­bers of Catholic, Lutheran and Jewish faiths set to at­tend the three-day con­ven­tion. They pointed to the pro­test­ers who showed up at US air­ports, along with lawyers of­fer­ing pro-bono le­gal help, as the new ban took ef­fect. “We had a lot of peo­ple come to visit in the mosque... to show sup­port. And it was very nice,” said Muham­mad Ab­del­latif, who was at­tend­ing the con­ven­tion from Houston.

But oth­ers pointed to re­cent in­ci­dents of at­tacks against Mus­lims as ev­i­dence of in­creased Is­lam­o­pho­bia, and ac­cused far-right groups, and the US pres­i­dent him­self, of fan­ning ten­sions. “This Ra­madan, in par­tic­u­lar, was a very dif­fi­cult one for many in the com­mu­nity,” said Asra Ali, a Chicago-area den­tist and con­ven­tion or­ga­nizer, re­fer­ring to the Mus­lim hol­i­day of fast­ing which ended last Satur­day.

In May, a man who had gone on an anti-Mus­lim rant fa­tally stabbed two peo­ple who came to the de­fense of two girls on a train in Port­land, Ore­gon. And ear­lier this month, Nabra Has­sa­nen, a 17-year-old Vir­ginia girl, was beaten to death af­ter she left late-night prayers at a mosque. A 22-year-old man was charged in that at­tack, which po­lice said was an act of road-rage not a hate crime, but many Mus­lims re­main con­vinced she was tar­geted over her faith. There was a spe­cial prayer planned for Has­sa­nen dur­ing the con­ven­tion. —AFP

— AFP

CHICAGO: Peo­ple at­tend the Is­lamic So­ci­ety of North Amer­ica (ISNA) an­nual con­ven­tion on Fri­day.

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