Last Friday, President Trump signed an immigration executive order that temporarily suspends citizens from seven Muslim countries from entering the United States.
The stated purpose behind this legislation was to protect the United States from countries that may breed terrorism and pose a threat to our nation.
Trump’s order applies to the following Muslim majority countries: Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iran, and Libya. Allegedly, the Trump administration identifies those seven places as “countries of concern.”
However, skeptics of this legislation are concerned that countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia are not included on the list. The leader of the 9/11 terrorist attack was from Egypt, while the rest of the attackers were from Saudi Arabia.
Some have pointed to Trump’s relationship with Saudi’s wealthy business owners and his relationship with Egypt’s brute dictator, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, as a possible explanation.
“Does Trump shy away from offending Saudi Arabia because he has business dealings with wealthy Saudis? Or because he expects them to curry favor by patronizing his new hotel in Washington?” said human rights campaigner Aryeh Neier. “By refusing to release his tax returns and by refusing to divest himself of his businesses, he raises such questions.”
Shortly after Trump signed this legislation into action, opposition from all over the country voiced their outrage. Nationwide protests were quickly organized and American citizens did not shy away from expressing their thoughts.
Over 1,000 people gathered at Raleigh Durham International airport on Sunday, January 29 to protest the discriminatory Muslim ban. The protesting permit had initially been approved for only 150 people. Much to our surprise, the crowds came in hundreds.
People were shaking hands, hugging, and dancing with one another: a symbol of peace and solidarity. Several clusters of people had even gone up to the police, who were lined up across the perimeter, to thank them.
Tarlon Khoubyari, an Iranian student at UNC Greensboro, expressed her concerns regarding executive order.
“I didn’t think a president could ever do something like this. Is this what makes America great? The banning of people that come from Muslim nations?” Khoubyari said. “I took this feeling of hopelessness, shock, and anger to RDU where myself and many others protested the ban. My friend and I got so overwhelmed by joy and unity that we cried. We protested alongside every walk of life: man, woman, immigrant, refugee, white, black. You name it. It was peaceful, unifying, and overall a wonderful experience.”
Zara Khan, a junior at Green Hope high school took it upon herself to lead many of the protest chants. Her uplifting attitude inspired several crowds to band together for a common purpose: to re appeal the ban.
“I feel like it is everyone’s duty to fight for what they believe in,” Zara Khan began. “I believe in fighting for my rights. As soon as I got to the protest, a whirlwind of emotions had hit me. Here I was, a Muslim-American living in Trump’s America. This was my chance to express myself, so I began chanting and everyone followed along.”
Chapel Hill student, Hamza Baloch described the ban as a completely illogical and a manipulative tactic to instill fear against Muslims.
“This ban is an attempt to create fear towards Muslims. Looking at the countries left out of the ban, it seems like an uneven and unfair executive order,” Baloch said. “I came out to the protest to show that I, as a Muslim American, will not stand aside while my religion is bashed. Two, I wanted to show people how peaceful Muslims truly are. Finally, I wanted to stand up for those who are suffering from this ban and serve as a voice for them.”
Hamza Baloch added that the diversity of the crowd is what stuck out to him the most.
“Of course I expected many Muslims in the crowd, but the tremendous support we received from the feminist, black lives matter, and LGBQT movement was simply outstanding,” Baloch added. “It shows that minorities are willing to stand up for each other and stand out against bigotry.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) raised more than 24 million dollars in donations over the past five days over the executive order.
“What we’ve seen is an unprecedented public reaction to the challenges of the Trump administration,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero announced.
Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project did not conceal his disappointment in Trump’s decision to enact this bill.
“The government can’t discriminate against a particular religion. It can’t favor one religion over another, and this legislation does both. Not only does it ban people—it’s an imperfect Muslim ban,” Jadwat commented. “It doesn’t get every Muslim in the world, but it’s a Muslim ban. And, as Donald Trump himself explained, there’s a specific provision to favor Christians from among the refugees that would otherwise be banned.”
Trump responded to protests by complaining that his Muslim ban is being called a Muslim ban.
“To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe,” Donald Trump said in a released press statement.
On January 30 UNCG’s Chancellor Frank Gilliam sent out an email detailing his thoughts on the ban, to all faculty members and students.
“We are working closely with General Administration to better understand the impact of this order for our community. In addition, the Provost’s Office, Office of Human Resources, International Programs Center, and others have been reaching out to individuals who may be directly affected,” Gilliam wrote. “Our commitment to the values of equality, inclusion, and diversity remains as strong as ever. These individuals and their families have our support, and their welfare is of utmost concern.”