The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BYSANDYRASHTY

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

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