Why folk of the 'Muslim ban' countries care less than the rest of us

Published February 2nd, 2017 - 14:40 GMT

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US President Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim-ban’ has provoked worldwide condemnation, galvanising civil rights activists, political leaders and your average joe to protest on the streets and across social media. The executive order, which temporarily bans travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, has promoted unprecedented expressions of tolerance and acceptance of refugees and immigrants across the West.
Yet, while the world is up in arms over the implementation of ‘extreme vetting’ of visitors from these Muslim-majority countries, for most residents of the Middle East and North Africa this clamp down on freedom of movement is nothing new. While Trump’s ban has brought this discrimination to the forefront of political conversation, visa restrictions, ‘random’ airport screenings and intense interrogation have long been part and parcel of travelling as a Muslim. Here we take a look at why Trump’s clamp down on Arab travel has done little to faze many from the “Muslim ban” countries.

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The majority of those targeted by the ban face severe restrictions on their travel anyway. 6 of the 7 banned nations are in the top 10 “worst passports for visa-free travel”. The ongoing conflicts in these states mean that even getting a tourist visa to Western countries is nearly impossible, as everyone assumes they want asylum.
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Image 1 of 9:  1 / 9The majority of those targeted by the ban face severe restrictions on their travel anyway. 6 of the 7 banned nations are in the top 10 “worst passports for visa-free travel”. The ongoing conflicts in these states mean that even getting a tourist visa to Western countries is nearly impossible, as everyone assumes they want asylum.

(Source: Albawaba staff)

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The process of taking refuge in the West is like a game of lottery, and chances of being granted refugee status are slim. As a result, the top three destinations for Syrian refugees are actually in the Middle East: Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. Between them, they have taken more than 5.5 million people - as opposed to the USA’s measly 16,200.
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Image 2 of 9:  2 / 9The process of taking refuge in the West is like a game of lottery, and chances of being granted refugee status are slim. As a result, the top three destinations for Syrian refugees are actually in the Middle East: Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. Between them, they have taken more than 5.5 million people - as opposed to the USA’s measly 16,200.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Enlarge
So, while some refugees have overcome multiple obstacles to win a place on a refugee program, the majority have no chance of going to the West. They spend years on UN waiting lists or sleeping in camps on the borders of neighboring countries. For this majority, Trump’s actions make little change to their reality.
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Image 3 of 9:  3 / 9So, while some refugees have overcome multiple obstacles to win a place on a refugee program, the majority have no chance of going to the West. They spend years on UN waiting lists or sleeping in camps on the borders of neighboring countries. For this majority, Trump’s actions make little change to their reality.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Enlarge
Trump’s suspension of admission to refugees is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discriminatory laws against those who flee to the West. In the UK, refugees are imprisoned in detention centers which are effectively prisons, while Australia has held immigrants in offshore detention centers where “appalling” abuse has been recorded.
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Image 4 of 9:  4 / 9Trump’s suspension of admission to refugees is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discriminatory laws against those who flee to the West. In the UK, refugees are imprisoned in detention centers which are effectively prisons, while Australia has held immigrants in offshore detention centers where “appalling” abuse has been recorded.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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While British politicians have been quick to criticise Trump, the UK is hardly a beacon of refugee rights. Over nine years, Britain reportedly deported 2,748 former child asylum seekers once they turned 18. Many had spent formative years in the UK, but were returned to the likes of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria.
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Image 5 of 9:  5 / 9While British politicians have been quick to criticise Trump, the UK is hardly a beacon of refugee rights. Over nine years, Britain reportedly deported 2,748 former child asylum seekers once they turned 18. Many had spent formative years in the UK, but were returned to the likes of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria.

(Source: Flickr)

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Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, deported more people from the US than any other president before him. Known as ‘the deporter in chief,’ his administration removed more than 2.5 million people through immigration orders between 2009-2015.
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Image 6 of 9:  6 / 9Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, deported more people from the US than any other president before him. Known as ‘the deporter in chief,’ his administration removed more than 2.5 million people through immigration orders between 2009-2015.

(Source: Flickr)

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Muslims even face visa restrictions when travelling to other Muslim-majority countries! After Trump’s ban, Kuwait announced that citizens from five Muslim-majority countries will no longer be able to obtain Kuwaiti visas. Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, Pakistanis and Afghans can no longer visit, or trade Kuwaiti visas.
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Image 7 of 9:  7 / 9Muslims even face visa restrictions when travelling to other Muslim-majority countries! After Trump’s ban, Kuwait announced that citizens from five Muslim-majority countries will no longer be able to obtain Kuwaiti visas. Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, Pakistanis and Afghans can no longer visit, or trade Kuwaiti visas.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Enlarge
Even outside the Middle East, Muslims are subject to discrimination and restrictions. Last year, a British Muslim family heading for Disneyland was barred from boarding a flight to Los Angeles by US authorities at London’s Gatwick airport. The family of 11 was given no explanation as to why they were refused onto the plane.
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Image 8 of 9:  8 / 9Even outside the Middle East, Muslims are subject to discrimination and restrictions. Last year, a British Muslim family heading for Disneyland was barred from boarding a flight to Los Angeles by US authorities at London’s Gatwick airport. The family of 11 was given no explanation as to why they were refused onto the plane.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Enlarge
Trump’s “Muslim ban” might seem outrageous to those of us who are happily able to travel without restriction. Yet,  it is a case of “same old, same old” for those Iraqis, Somalians, Yemenis, Libyans, Iranians, Sudanese and Syrians for whom travelling to the West - or even outside their own countries - is little more than a pipe dream.
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Image 9 of 9:  9 / 9Trump’s “Muslim ban” might seem outrageous to those of us who are happily able to travel without restriction. Yet, it is a case of “same old, same old” for those Iraqis, Somalians, Yemenis, Libyans, Iranians, Sudanese and Syrians for whom travelling to the West - or even outside their own countries - is little more than a pipe dream.

(Source: Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/AFP)

Enlarge

1

The majority of those targeted by the ban face severe restrictions on their travel anyway. 6 of the 7 banned nations are in the top 10 “worst passports for visa-free travel”. The ongoing conflicts in these states mean that even getting a tourist visa to Western countries is nearly impossible, as everyone assumes they want asylum.

Image 1 of 9The majority of those targeted by the ban face severe restrictions on their travel anyway. 6 of the 7 banned nations are in the top 10 “worst passports for visa-free travel”. The ongoing conflicts in these states mean that even getting a tourist visa to Western countries is nearly impossible, as everyone assumes they want asylum.

(Source: Albawaba staff)

2

The process of taking refuge in the West is like a game of lottery, and chances of being granted refugee status are slim. As a result, the top three destinations for Syrian refugees are actually in the Middle East: Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. Between them, they have taken more than 5.5 million people - as opposed to the USA’s measly 16,200.

Image 2 of 9The process of taking refuge in the West is like a game of lottery, and chances of being granted refugee status are slim. As a result, the top three destinations for Syrian refugees are actually in the Middle East: Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. Between them, they have taken more than 5.5 million people - as opposed to the USA’s measly 16,200.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

3

So, while some refugees have overcome multiple obstacles to win a place on a refugee program, the majority have no chance of going to the West. They spend years on UN waiting lists or sleeping in camps on the borders of neighboring countries. For this majority, Trump’s actions make little change to their reality.

Image 3 of 9So, while some refugees have overcome multiple obstacles to win a place on a refugee program, the majority have no chance of going to the West. They spend years on UN waiting lists or sleeping in camps on the borders of neighboring countries. For this majority, Trump’s actions make little change to their reality.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

4

Trump’s suspension of admission to refugees is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discriminatory laws against those who flee to the West. In the UK, refugees are imprisoned in detention centers which are effectively prisons, while Australia has held immigrants in offshore detention centers where “appalling” abuse has been recorded.

Image 4 of 9Trump’s suspension of admission to refugees is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discriminatory laws against those who flee to the West. In the UK, refugees are imprisoned in detention centers which are effectively prisons, while Australia has held immigrants in offshore detention centers where “appalling” abuse has been recorded.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

5

While British politicians have been quick to criticise Trump, the UK is hardly a beacon of refugee rights. Over nine years, Britain reportedly deported 2,748 former child asylum seekers once they turned 18. Many had spent formative years in the UK, but were returned to the likes of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria.

Image 5 of 9While British politicians have been quick to criticise Trump, the UK is hardly a beacon of refugee rights. Over nine years, Britain reportedly deported 2,748 former child asylum seekers once they turned 18. Many had spent formative years in the UK, but were returned to the likes of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria.

(Source: Flickr)

6

Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, deported more people from the US than any other president before him. Known as ‘the deporter in chief,’ his administration removed more than 2.5 million people through immigration orders between 2009-2015.

Image 6 of 9Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, deported more people from the US than any other president before him. Known as ‘the deporter in chief,’ his administration removed more than 2.5 million people through immigration orders between 2009-2015.

(Source: Flickr)

7

Muslims even face visa restrictions when travelling to other Muslim-majority countries! After Trump’s ban, Kuwait announced that citizens from five Muslim-majority countries will no longer be able to obtain Kuwaiti visas. Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, Pakistanis and Afghans can no longer visit, or trade Kuwaiti visas.

Image 7 of 9Muslims even face visa restrictions when travelling to other Muslim-majority countries! After Trump’s ban, Kuwait announced that citizens from five Muslim-majority countries will no longer be able to obtain Kuwaiti visas. Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, Pakistanis and Afghans can no longer visit, or trade Kuwaiti visas.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

8

Even outside the Middle East, Muslims are subject to discrimination and restrictions. Last year, a British Muslim family heading for Disneyland was barred from boarding a flight to Los Angeles by US authorities at London’s Gatwick airport. The family of 11 was given no explanation as to why they were refused onto the plane.

Image 8 of 9Even outside the Middle East, Muslims are subject to discrimination and restrictions. Last year, a British Muslim family heading for Disneyland was barred from boarding a flight to Los Angeles by US authorities at London’s Gatwick airport. The family of 11 was given no explanation as to why they were refused onto the plane.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

9

Trump’s “Muslim ban” might seem outrageous to those of us who are happily able to travel without restriction. Yet,  it is a case of “same old, same old” for those Iraqis, Somalians, Yemenis, Libyans, Iranians, Sudanese and Syrians for whom travelling to the West - or even outside their own countries - is little more than a pipe dream.

Image 9 of 9Trump’s “Muslim ban” might seem outrageous to those of us who are happily able to travel without restriction. Yet, it is a case of “same old, same old” for those Iraqis, Somalians, Yemenis, Libyans, Iranians, Sudanese and Syrians for whom travelling to the West - or even outside their own countries - is little more than a pipe dream.

(Source: Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/AFP)

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