A woman holding a placard during a protest against the Trump administration’s Muslim ban in front of the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. EPA PIC

Recently, United States President Donald Trump signed a series of executive orders (EOs) banning refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen), suspending the US refugee admission programme for 120 days and ceasing visa applications from those countries.

The protests that erupted in more than 30 cities across the US and worldwide indicated that the EOs were not popular. Trump became a much disliked man within eight days after he was inaugurated.

His acts depart from the principles enshrined in the US constitution. In the United Kingdom (UK), a petition calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to cancel Trump’s scheduled state visit has garnered more than 1.5 million signatures. This is unprecedented because the US is regarded as a close ally of the UK.

The fact is that the US will always remain an immigrant state. The presidency of Barack Obama had lived up to the founding fathers’ principle of upholding the fundamental rights of people, irrespective of race, religion and gender.

By signing the EOs, Trump is diluting himself with narrow approaches based on race and religion, which will become the basis for future global conflicts.

Trump’s domestic and foreign policies will be dangerous to world peace as they may encourage other countries to follow suit. Such policies will prevent refugees, particularly from war-torn countries like Syria and Iraq, to seek protection.

Most of them are innocent children, women and the elderly.

Such policies may also contravene international law and conventions.

On the home front, they are likely to incite hatred and increase the number of homegrown terrorists.

The EOs will motivate and inspire terrorist groups, particularly the Islamic State, to launch deadly attacks on American soil. Terrorist groups can exploit the people’s dissatisfaction and turn them against their government and citizens.

Furthermore, the policies can also have reverse effects by invoking extreme nationalism and violent anti-immigrant sentiments, especially against Muslims, like the Quebec mosque attack.

The Trump administration needs to set aside or review its domestic and foreign policies, which are profoundly influenced by notions described in Samuel P. Huntington’s The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order, and take a more liberal approach that subscribes to multiculturalism.

By denying the rights of refugees from a particular religion and isolating minorities in the US, the administration is inviting disaster on its own soil and the world at large.

The EOs contained grave flaws and that was why acting US attorney-general Sally Yates resisted implementing the travel ban. She eventually paid the price when Trump sacked her.

People are not born terrorists, but are created by circumstances.

The policies of the Trump administration is sowing the seeds for terrorist attacks in the US and elsewhere. This needs to be stopped.

R. PANEIR SELVAM
chairman, Association of Legal and Policy Researcher

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