By Maleeha Coleburn
In Sudan, a girl waits by the phone to talk to her mother. In the United States, her mother is getting ready to call her daughter, with devastating news.
Donald Trump, the newly elected president of the United States, has issued an executive order. The order is widely known to the public as the “Muslim ban,” which bars citizens and dual nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days. These seven countries include: Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Sudan.
It also suspends the United States’ refugee system for a period of 120 days and bars Syrian refugees from entering the country indefinitely.
During the phone call, the girl excitedly tells her mother about her week and accomplishments in school. The mother tries to decide how she will break the news of the Muslim ban to her daughter. When the daughter asks about the next time she can visit her mother and baby brother in the U.S., her mother sadly looks to the ground. Slowly she explains what has happened. She explains what it means for their family, which is split between the U.S. and Sudan. The girl cries. She has not seen her family for two years.
That is the story of my aunt and her daughter. That is the story of thousands of Muslims across the country. Families are forced to be split. Those who have called America home for years are not allowed to return now.
While President Trump says his “extreme vetting” system will help “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the U.S.,” all it is doing is keeping Americans out of America.
Rather than stopping radical Islamic terrorism, President Trump is fueling it. He is playing right into these terrorist organizations’ hands with anti-Islam rhetoric, with bans on Muslims entering the country,prioritizing Christian migrants and with suspending the refugee program. He is only confirming that the West hates Islam, just like organizations such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda say.
However, the ban does not apply to countries where President Trump has business ties to, countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. It was Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt whose citizens carried out the 9/11 attacks.
ISIS controls territory in Syria, Iraq and Libya, while Al-Qaeda has a major presence in Yemen and the terrorist group Al-Shabab is based in Somalia. The U.S. State Department alleges that the governments of Iran, Sudan and Syria support international terrorism.
The data on terrorism in the United States, however, consistently indicates the threat of terrorism does not come from these countries.
Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at Cato Institute, has arrived at a striking finding: Nationals of the seven countries singled out by President Trump have killed zero people in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and 2015.
As for refugees, Nowrasteh writes, President Trump’s action “is a response to a phantom menace.” Over the last four decades, 20 out of 3.25 million refugees welcomed to the U.S. have been convicted of attempting or committing terrorism on U.S. soil. Only three Americans have been killed in attacks committed by refugees—all by Cuban refugees in the 1970s.
Thankfully millions of people around the world and in the U.S. realize President Trump’s discriminatory policy and are protesting loudly. Protests have taken place at airports, in D.C. and on social media platforms. It is heartening to see, as a Muslim woman, that people are not falling into the trap of Islamophobia.
Featured Photo Credit: Within this photograph are a few succinct reminders of why so many gathered today around the country. (Joe Duffy/Bloc Photographer)
Maleeha Coleburn is a freshman journalism and government and politics double major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.