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South Africa: Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ angers African Muslims

30th Jan 2017
South Africa: Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ angers African Muslims

By Hassan Isilow


JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AA): Muslim leaders and activists in Africa have voiced fears that U.S President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders banning refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries could be used by terror groups to garner support.

On Friday, Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning refugees and travelers from Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Iran and Iraq.

Sheikh Ameenuddin, leader of Mozambique’s Muslim community, called Trump’s policy sad and illogical.

“This decision might make militant groups to get more support worsening our world peace,” Ameenuddin told Anadolu Agency Sunday via telephone from Mozambique’s capital Maputo.

Sheikh Ali Bulle, a Muslim leader in southwestern Somalia, said the al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab militant group in the country would now get more recruits.

Iqbal Jassat, an executive of the Johannesburg-based Muslim advocacy group Media Review Network, said they had been deeply troubled by Trump’s ban and condemned it in the strongest terms.

“Donald Trump seems to be in a race to crown himself as a bigot and defining his administration as a world leader of xenophobia and islampophobia,’’ Jassat said in an interview with Anadolu Agency Sunday.

He said although they were encouraged by the wave of protests and judicial orders condemning the ban, he said the Trump administration would remain adamant in pursuing its Islamophobic policies.

“Refugees who are homeless and displaced as a direct result of America’s wars of aggression in their homelands such as Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Libya will feel more aggrieved,” he said.

The activist said they also believe that resistance to America’s military presence in the wider Muslim world would intensify as a result of its anti-Muslim policies.

“We call on South Africa, the African Union and international community to urgently reassess its alliance with America’s ‘war on terror’,” he said.

Faisal Suleiman of the South Africa Muslim Network (SAMNET) said he believes with time Trump would realize that Muslims are not a threat to the U.S.

Suleiman said it is wrong to classify all Muslims as a threat yet reports have found that most Muslims who migrate and integrate with their new countries have higher rates of education and low crime levels.

In Somalia, residents expressed fear that if some of their relatives whom they depend on for monthly remittances are deported back home they would have no means of survival. Tens of thousands of Somali refugees live in the U.S., with some still struggling to formalize their stay. Hundreds of thousands of families in Somalia depend on remittances sent from the United States and other western countries.

* Mohammed Dhaysane contributed to this story from Mogadishu in Somalia

[Map of Africa. CC0 Public Domain]

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

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