President Trump has suspended entry into the USA by people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. He says he is doing this to protect America from radical Islamic terrorists. That is an important duty. But we cannot treat entire populations as terrorists, adding insult to the injuries of many victims of human rights abuses.
Many people leave these countries to make a better life abroad. Many flee as victims of war or terrorism or totalitarian regimes. A small number are terrorists. And some are courageously campaigning, at great personal cost, against terrorism and other human rights abuses. This travel ban lumps them all together, and assumes the worst of each of them.
It is an unjust, counterproductive and random ban on innocent decent people, whether Muslim or of any other religion or none, who happen to be from one of seven countries previously listed as countries of concern. Oddly, the list does not include Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt or Lebanon, where the 9/11 hijackers were from.
Any ethical immigration policy should treat each person as a unique individual, not simply on the basis of their nationality or other accidents of birth. On that basis, how will President Trump’s unjust travel ban protect America from the many good people who happen to be from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia?
The ban also affects people from any of the countries who are already in America, because if they left America and tried to return, they could be refused re-entry. The following list is representative of some of the circumstances of people who the ban could affect, in order to show its injustice and randomness.
Narges Mohammadi is an Iranian human rights activist sentenced last year to ten years in prison for opposing the death penalty.
IRQR helps gay people to flee as refugees from Iran, where homosexual acts are punishable by death.
The Yazidis are an ethnically Kurdish religious community in Iraq, who ISIS persecute having declared them to be devil worshippers.
Faisal Saeed Al Mutar is an Iraqi-born human rights activist who moved to America as a refugee. He is founder of the Global Secular Humanist Movement.
Yahia Sharbji is a Syrian political activist who was arrested as a student for being a member of Daryya youth group, a group of young Muslims who believed in non-violent solutions to the problems of society.
The violence in Syria has directly affected nearly five million refugees, most of whom are dependent on United Nations aid.
Meriam Ibrahim is a Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy after she married a Christian man. She was released after giving birth in prison, and fled to America.
Suha Abushamma is a Sudanese doctor working at the Cleveland Clinic. She landed back in America on Saturday after visiting family, and was deported minutes before a Judge put a stay on deporting people in her circumstance.
More than 100 Libyan writers and intellectuals last week condemned Libya security forces’ mass seizure of books deemed anti-Islamic or erotic, including one by Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho. On the refugee route in Libya, the German embassy in Niger has authenticated reports of executions, torture and other systematic human rights abuses.
Mohammed Atboush fled Yemen this month after an assassination attempt. He had written a book about the conflict between science and religion in Islam.
Elham Manea is a Yemeni-Swiss academic, writer, and human rights activist, and a critic of the ideologies and policies of societal and political Islamism.
Hundreds of Somali refugees who had spent years in the refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, have now been told they cannot travel just as they were about to leave for the US.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali-born Dutch-American activist, author, and a leading opponent of female genital mutilation.