Protestors take part in a demonstration against new immigration policies enacted by US President Donald Trump in Houston. Picture: John G Mabanglo/EPA
Protestors take part in a demonstration against new immigration policies enacted by US President Donald Trump in Houston. Picture: John G Mabanglo/EPA

SA ire at US travel ban

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Jan 30, 2017

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Durban – South Africans from across the religious spectrum have added their voice to international outrage over Donald Trump’s executive order at the weekend that banned travellers and immigrants of seven Muslim countries from entering the US.

On Friday, the US president made true on one of his election promises and announced there would be a ban on visas for travellers or immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya.

Taking to Twitter, Trump said; “Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world – a horrible mess.”

Speaking to the Daily News, Faisal Suleman the chairman of the South African Muslim Network, said the ban was “both erroneous and short-sighted”.

“From the perspective of the South African Muslim Network, we believe that the Trump administration will soon understand the short-sightedness of this move.

“The Muslim community consists of 1.8 billion people from all over the world who vary in race, culture, language, socio-economic status and understanding, as well as how they practise their religion. To box all Muslims into one entity is both erroneous and short-sighted. It is also a great disservice to the Muslim community,” said Suleman.

He also said that Muslim communities throughout the world had served their host countries with enormous gratitude.

“In Muslim communities, there are higher rates of education than the normal population and lower rates of alcoholism, drug addiction, crime and dependence on the state.

“Our communities have excelled in all countries that they have emmigrated to. The US has been built on the ingenuity, entrepreneurship and hard work of immigrants since its inception. It is the diversity and energy brought by immigrants that has led to the success of the US.

“Let us not forget that Barack Obama’s father was from a Muslim majority country and Steve Jobs’ father was Syrian. There are so many other examples of Muslims who have excelled and this applies all over the world.

“The ban will prove to be erroneous and regrettable in the future. The Trump administration will realise the diversity and the enormous benefits of the Muslim community,” said Suleman.

Fawzia Peer, Durban’s deputy city mayor, believes that the ban will set civilisation back.

“Trump, in all his hatred and paranoia is bent on setting civilisation back to a time when intolerance was the order of the day. “Trump’s megalomaniac and tyrannical mindset will only serve to further divide and alienate nations,” she said.

Peer said hatred begets hatred and Trump’s “irrational behaviour” would only make things worse.

“We South Africans are painfully aware of the path that the US is on. It’s a path that pits man against man. It rips apart at the fabric of society,” said Peer.

Commenting on the ban, Ashwin Trikamjee, president of the Hindu Maha Sabha in South Africa, said from the moment that Trump began his campaign and since taking over as US president, he had displayed irresponsible behaviour.

“The ban is totally unacceptable. I believe that one court has already ruled against it,” he said.

“I hope that the American government and those around him see that his irresponsible behaviour cannot continue.

“To generalise against any community is wrong,” said Trikamjee.

World leaders weighed in on the ban, calling for Trump to reverse the order.

Protests were held across the country, all condemning the president’s move, with celebrities adding their voices to the call to ban the ban.

Mo Farrah, the Somalian-born Olympian now living in America with his family, expressed his views on the ban via a statement explaining that he would have to tell his children that he may not be able to come home from his training camp in Ethiopia. Via his Facebook page, Farrah said the decision to ban Muslims came from a place of ignorance and prejudice.

South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said government disagreed with Trump’s order. He said Trump should be left to do what he believed was good for the US while the Pretoria government should be allowed to do what it believed was best for South Africa.

“South Africa has an immigration policy based on human rights, humane treatment of people in distress and African solidarity. South Africa would never ban persons from a certain country or because of religious, gender or sexual orientation.

“It violates international law to impose a collective ban on people, except people belonging to an organisation injurious to national interests,” he said.

Daily News

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