Only a week into his presidency, Donald Trump signed an executive order administering a more rigorous screening of refugees and visitors from certain countries he claimed would help to prevent terrorist attacks. Trump’s executive order, which he calls “extreme vetting,” stated that, for 90 days, travelers from seven majority Muslim countries are banned from entering the United States. These countries are Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq. Trump has said that this ban is temporarily necessary to guard against terror attacks. However, a researcher at the CATO Institute stated that since 1975 there has not been a person from these seven countries who has committed a deadly terrorist attack on U.S. soil. This led many civil rights groups to denounce this order as discriminatory. Muslim students at GDS spoke out on the temporary ban.
“I wasn’t surprised when I first learned about the Muslim ban,” noted freshman Murad Nashid. He added, “throughout Trump’s candidacy he made it clear [the ban] was one of his top priorities. I was disappointed, but I wasn’t surprised.”
Sophomore Sarah Cooper remembered her parents telling her at the beginning of Trump’s candidacy, “right now is not a good time to go around telling people you are Muslim.” She said that outside of GDS walls, and DC, she wouldn’t feel comfortable telling people she is Muslim.
“I don’t look particularly Middle Eastern. I suppose it is a form of white privilege, because I have the ability not to have to disclose that I’m Muslim, which is something I always have safeguarding me. I have the privilege to hide something because people could discriminate against me because of it. To be able to hide that, and to be able to decide when you disclose [being Muslim], and if you disclose it is a privilege,” Sarah said.
Sophomore Sophia Mohammed remembered going to mosque when she was younger. “I used to ask my dad why the police were always there. He could never tell me if they were there to protect us or to protect other people from us.” She said she feels like this ban is making discrimination even more of a reality.
Sophia was frustrated when people claimed Trump’s executive order “was not a Muslim ban.” She added, “so many Islamophobes are coming out of the woodwork because of Trump’s allowing and breeding hate. Many people have asked me about being Muslim, because some people don’t know what it really means to be Muslim or that it’s so similar to Christianity and Judaism. Islam is a really important part of me and my family, and I think awareness is important and voicing our opinions is most effective at a time like this,” Sophia noted.
Murad added, “we need to continue to fight against what [Trump] stands for, and not only for Muslim rights but also for women, African Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities to resist Trump’s hate.” Under the new administration, it is important to understand the effects of Trump’s presidency on the United States and members of the GDS community.
By: Amelia Myre