TRUMP CAUSES TURMOIL — FOR JEWS AND MUSLIMS
JEWS FROM Muslim countries have found themselves wondering whether they should try to visit relatives in America — and some have already been detained in US airports in the wake of President Donald Trump’s entry ban.
The order, which was signed by Mr Trump last Friday, blocks citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen — including those who hold dual citizenship — from entering the country for at least 90 days. It has also suspended the admission of refugees for 120 days.
Nadia Nathan, who fled Baghdad in 1972 and now lives in north-west London, said: “When I heard the news, I immediately thought: ‘Oh, I can’t go to America now’.
“My friend had her son’s wedding in America. I was on the phone to her the other day. She said was so relieved the ban hadn’t been in place a couple of months ago, otherwise all her friends would have been worried about going to the wedding.”
On Sunday, Yemen-born Manny Dahari, who was raised in America, was detained for almost four hours at John F Kennedy airport.
Green-card holder Mr Dahari, a Yeshiva University student who was flying home after visiting his family in Israel, was questioned by officials before being allowed to enter the country.
The 23-year-old refugee, who moved to the US more than 10 years ago from Raydah in Yemen, told the JC the experience was a “nightmare” adding: “But I’m the kind of person that likes to take risks and challenge things. I wanted to make a statement.”
After showing his Yemeni passport, Mr Dahari was questioned by a security official. He said: “There were about 50 people in the detention room. On my leftwassomeonefromIran,onmyright therewassomeonefromIraq.Therewas a lot of tension, a lot of anxiety with people not knowing what would happen.
“I was asked a lot of questions. ‘Why am I not living in Israel with my family; why don’t I have an Israeli passport’.
“But honestly, I do think being Jewish helped. There were people in the same situation as me, who were Muslims, going through worse than what I was. It was eye-opening in a way.”
Iraqi Edwin Shuker, who is vice-president of the European Jewish Congress, has postponed his visit to the US as a result of the ban.
Mr Shuker, who fled Baghdad in 1971, described Mr Trump’s move as “an illconceived and rushed order that plays into the hands of the extremists and the radicals”.
Lyn Julius, founder of Harif, a UKbased organisation for Jews from Arab countries and Iran, said: “British passports do state a person’s country of birth and that could definitely affect Jewish people coming into the States.
“I am all for banning terrorists or people who are suspects, for security reasons. But I think this order is a bit like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”
But Israeli-American Moti Kahana, who set up the New York-based Amaliah NGO to support Syrian refugees, welcomed Mr Trump’s order.
The businessman, who coordinated rescue missions for Jews living in Syria and Yemen in 2015, said the current US system was “broken” and needed to be rethought.
Mr Kahana said that he had purchased a Syrian passport in Turkey for $2,500 (£1,999) two years ago, to prove how easy it was to fake an identity.
“I showed it to American security officers and said: ‘Look, you don’t know who i s who’. I changed my name to ‘Naji Hasson’ — and if I can getsuchfalse documents, whoistosay s o meone else can’t?” Critical: Shuker