A plethora of voices have weighed in on President Donald Trump’s immigration ban that impacts seven Muslim-majority countries, but one of the more thought-provoking elements of the discussion has been some of the Muslims and Middle Eastern immigrants who have actually come out in favor of the contentious executive order.
The Washington Post recently caught up with some Syrian Christians in Allentown, Pennsylvania, who agree with Trump’s efforts to crack down on immigration from their native land. Elias Shetayh, a man who immigrated to the U.S. 46 years ago and is now an American citizen, is among those saying that he believes the president has a point.
“Trump is right, in a way, to do what he’s doing,” he told the Post. “This country is going into a disaster.”
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Community leader Aziz Wehbey agreed, noting that it is difficult to know the backgrounds of some of the refugees coming into America. He said, “We’re concerned about, if God forbid a terrorist attack happened here … that we’re all labeled as bad people. I hate to say it.”
These comments are noteworthy, as Shetayh and Wehbey are, again, both from Syria, a nation that, in Trump’s order, is particularly singled out; immigration from that country is being suspended until further notice, as the Trump administration deems it unsafe to bring in refugees from the war-torn region. Both individuals are also Christians, though many of the refugees who have been coming in are Muslim.
But Wehbey said that religion in itself has little to do with his concern surrounding the influx of refugees into the U.S.
“We’re not by any means prejudiced against Islam. As long as you’re a good human being, you have the right to believe whatever you want to believe. But the majority of the population over here are Christian Syrian,” he told the Post. “Now they’re bringing new elements from Syria, refugees shook by a religious war. They may have hate in their heart because of whatever happened to them. And we don’t want to see a religious conflict over here.”
As Faithwire previously reported, a handful of other former Muslims and current Islamic adherents have also come out in support of Trump’s travel ban. For instance, Raheel Raza, a Muslim human rights activist born in Pakistan, recently told Fox News that, though she disagrees with Trump’s “terminology,” she believes he is bringing up a much-needed conversation, and that people don’t have to like him to engage in that discussion.
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“It’s not a ban on Islam, or any religion,” Raza said. “There is so much hysteria surrounding this order that it’s unfortunately barring reason and logic. Trump is not politically correct at all. (If he wanted to) he would say outright that it was a Muslim ban.” Dr. Zuhudi Jasser, head of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, added his view that vetting for extremism isn’t anti-Muslim and, in fact, said “there is nothing more pro-Muslim than vetting jihadists.”
But, as we also reported, some Christian humanitarian groups have strongly condemned Trump’s move, saying that it could make things worse on the ground for Christian minorities in the countries impacted by the order. Of particular concern for David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, a Christian humanitarian group, is the idea that the Trump administration could prioritize Christian refugees over others.
“The concept of prioritizing only Christians and other refugees belonging to religious minority groups while denying entry to Muslims is concerning,” he told Faithwire. “Not only is this concept antithetical to our faith as Christians, but it can also result in placing a target on the backs of Christians in countries plagued by Islamic extremism.”
And there has certainly been no shortage of tragic stories showing how the rollout of the executive order created problems for some people who have lived in the U.S. for decades, but who were traveling abroad in one of the seven countries when Trump issued the order. No doubt, the battle over Trump’s immigration ban will forge on.
(H/T: Washington Post)
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