Trump’s cruel policy hands victory to the radicals

One year ago my wife and I were notified that we are no longer eligible for a visa waiver should we wish to visit the USA and that our electronic travel authorisation ESTA was revoked.

Should we wish to visit our family in the States we now have to apply and pay for a one-to-one interview to assess whether we are fit to enter the country.

The reason for such a stressful procedure is a visit to my birthplace, Iraq, where I grew up managed to escape with my family in 1971.

A similar sledgehammer decision was taken by President Donald Trump last week when he moved to ban every national from seven Arab and north African countries from entering the USA for 90 days and every refugee from reaching these countries for 120 days.

Once again that order affects me together with almost 150 million people, regardless of whether they are a Yezidi a victim of rape, a Jew with dual nationality, a Muslim who risked his life collaborating with the USA army or, indeed, the Conservative MP for Stratford-upon-Avon.

Profiling and generalisation feels very different when one is personally caught into the net.

As Jews who have been singled out throughout history, we should not be complacent at the destructive nature of such indiscriminate measures.

I also question the effectiveness of such a measure in the fight against radicalisation within the Muslim world.

Such an objective can only be achieved with the cooperation and collaboration of reformers, educators and enlightened religious leaders within Islam.

The furious reaction on Arabic social networks and the media in general reflect a resounding victory to the radicals and the hotheads who are leading and dominating the debates on the net.

Ironically, not a single fatality has been caused inside the USA by a citizen from any of the seven countries singled out by this hurried executive order.

Even crueller was banning approved refugees from entering the country, including some who were cleared to fly and have already landed yet detained at various American airports.

I believe President Trump wasted a golden  opportunity to make an early impression as an international statesman who means business, and a warrior against terrorism and radicalism, without compromising the security of the United States.

Had he notified and consulted in advance with the leaders of the countries affected and pledged to work with them hand-in-hand to eradicate radicalism in their own countries, he would have preserved the dignity and respect of these nations and gained partners instead of adversaries.

To paraphrase the title a self-promoting Donald Trump books–  that, Mr President, would have been the art of the deal.

• Edwin is vice chair of the International division of the Board of Deputies

About the Author
Edwin Shuker is Vice President of the Board of Deputies Communities Division.
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