A string of claims have been made – including by the US President himself – to justify the policy. But how true are they?
Trended number one worldwide on Twitter. However, Donald Trump’s travel ban is not a ban on Muslims.
It is a ban on people from seven Muslim majority countries – Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, the Sudan, Libya and the Yemen. Syrian refugees will be banned indefinitely (beyond the 90 days applied to the seven countries) and it bars the entry of any refugees currently awaiting settlement in the US.
It does discriminate against Muslims, though, because minority religions, mostly Christians, may be exempt from the refugee ban after 120 days.
2. Trump ban v Obama’s 2011 ban
It is claimed Donald Trump’s travel ban is similar to what Barack Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. However, Obama responded to an actual threat, whereas Trump issued his executive order without any known triggering threat. Obama’s actions have been described as a “refugee application slowdown”.
Obama did not ban Iraqis on a wholesale basis and Iraqis continued to be allowed to enter the US but at a slower rate. The key issue here is that restrictions in the past have reflected actionable intelligence. There is no evidence that these banned countries are the sources of an extra threat level to the US.
3. No. of people affected by ban
Donald Trump’s administration has said only 109 people out of 325,000 were affected by the travel ban. However, this figure doesn’t take into account people trying to board planes, people detained once their flight landed and visa holders. With this in mind, it’s been suggested the figure is close to 90,000.
Tens of thousands of people will be affected immediately and more as the 120 days wear on.
Tens of thousands of people have filled the streets across the UK to show their opposition to Donald Trump’s travel ban
There were protests in cities including London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Manchester and Birmingham. The protest in Leeds is pictured here
The protests in central London were held close to the gates of Downing Street. Continue through for more pictures
4. Trump is fulfilling a campaign pledge
Donald Trump actually promised a total ban on Muslims coming into the US and “extreme vetting”. The former is illegal under the US constitution. But his opponents failed to comprehend just how ignorant he is on the legal system of his own country.
5. The seven countries were identified by Obama administration as sources of terror
This claim by the President on Sunday is so misleading as to be comical. Fifteen of the 19 9/11 attackers came from Saudi Arabia, the rest came from the Lebanon, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates.
None of these countries are on the banned list – nor is Pakistan, where the Taliban and al Qaeda have bases or Tunisia – the biggest supplier of fighters to Islamic State. Belgium or France which are the home countries of numerous terrorists behind recent attacks are also not on the list.
6. White House to ask foreign visitors for social media info and mobile phone contacts
This is reported by CNN. Such a move would be pointless as actual terrorists don’t wander about with their phones carrying secret contact information.
7. No attacks have come from any of the seven countries highlighted in recent years
Not true. Plots have been foiled that do involve people who have connections with these countries.
8. Travel ban will make the US safe again
The United States is relatively safe from terrorist attacks especially those perpetrated by foreigners. Right-wing extremists probably pose as much of a threat as other “home grown” or “lone wolf” Islamic terrorists. And in any case, the term “terrorist” has a fluid meaning. Does it only now apply to Muslims? Are white supremacists who use violence not terrorists?
The travel ban, focused on Muslim majority countries, will not make America safer. It will expose the US to the continued charge of hypocrisy and double standards which are part of the cause of anti-American feeling around the world, especially in those parts of the world where the US is conducting military operations.
It’s not possible to claim to be a country that sees all people as equal under the law – and then showing that this is not the case.
Those who have helped the US in their wars in Iraq in particular will feel deeply betrayed. Combine that with pre-existing fear and hatred for the US and the spread of fundamentalist Wahhabi ideology – recruitment to extremism is bound to grow.
When al Qaeda carried out the 9/11 attacks it intended to create a clash of civilisations between the Islamic and the Western worlds.
That is what Osama bin Laden got in 2001 – and what Donald Trump has continued to deliver, just like Barack Obama and George W Bush before him.
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