Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ met with criticism and distinct silence

Donald Trump holds order banning refugees from entering the US on Friday 27 January, (c) Bloomberg

The barring of refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries has been met with fierce criticism but also a distinct silence.

The directive signed by the president on Friday put a four-month bar on refugees entering the country, an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria and a three-month bar on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

While Iran and Iraq were quick to condemn the decision, many of the world’s leading Muslim-majority countries have remained silent on the issue.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and even the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a group of 57 nations that considers itself the collective voice of the Muslim world are yet to make official statements on the development, despite large numbers of people already being affected by the decision. Thousands of people have been refused entry and stranded at airports over the weekend.

The order has caused controversy across the world and also in the US with demonstrators taking to the streets and airports, some demanding the president be deported himself. Attorneys general 15 states including New York and Washington, DC, condemned and pledged to fight what they called Trump’s “dangerous” and “unconstitutional” order.

Dissenting voices have arisen within the Republican camp too. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, said in a joint statement that the president’s order “will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism”.

The Trump administration on Sunday backtracked on one aspect of the order saying green card holders would be allowed to return to the country.

However Mr Trump defended the decision and said, “this is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe.”

He added: “We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days.”

Critics have also pointed out that Mr Trump invoked the 11 September attacks three times during his presentation of the order on Friday, but that countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 attackers in 2001, are not included on the list.