SHAFAQNA – Fear was just one of the many emotions that Muslim communities around the world experienced after waking up on Jan. 27 to a surprise travel restriction put in place by President Donald Trump.
Last month, Trump signed an executive order that banned citizens from predominantly Muslim countries, like Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, from entering the United States for 90 days. Up to 100,000 visas were cancelled in a global sweep, according to the state department.
In addition, this executive order suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, an effort for 120 days. The administration of President Donald Trump said these measures were necessary for security reasons but offered no evidence to support the claim and instead listed past terrorism acts in France, Germany and the U.S.
While this ban has potential for negative effects on businesses, citizens and travelers in the Middle East, it is also capable of impacting the Muslim communities residing here in the United States.
Adam Ismail, vice president of the Muslim Student Association at CSU East Bay, expressed his concerns for the effects that the executive order will have on the United States and his family.
“I can see where people are coming from by being scared and supporting the ban, but people need to research their facts on attacks…and not just take the word of the president or media,” said Ismail.
Ismail said the press, social media and some of Trump’s statements mislead people and cause them to fear and blame all Muslims for attacks carried out by Muslim extremists.
Muslim extremists have stepped up attacks on western countries since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. Muslims who number 1.6 billion of the 7.4 billion people in the world, according to Pew Research Center, often point out that their faith, Islam, prohibits violence and caution against generalizations that paint all Muslims as violent.
Ismail, who immigrated to the U.S. from Egypt, expressed concern for possible future bans that could be placed on that country, as he would not be able to travel to see his family that still lives in Egypt. He worries about being discriminated against or even being restricted from returning to the United States because of his Islamic faith.
Similarly, Mohammad Faisal, a board director of the Alameda Muslim League, has similar fears. Faisal has family in Fiji and he says he worries about the possibility that Trump could ban all Muslims from entering the country.
Faisal said he hasn’t seen his nephews in 11 years because they have been involved in a grueling battle to obtain visas to get into the United States.
He worries that the visa request process may take longer to process because his nephews are Muslim.
Salman Saeed, a student at De Anza College in Cupertino, also worries about the ban. He says he was recently granted permanent citizenship to the United States but he fears he may not see his siblings and parents in Sudan for a while.
“The only good thing that came from this executive order is that people mobilized together in an effort to resist the ban and support Muslims everywhere,” said Saeed.