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Manggala: Immigration order tears families apart



Earlier this week, I had to warn my mother about going to the mosque this weekend. The mosque is her safe place, where she meets with friends and prays with family. I had to tell her to be careful about going to the place where she worships. I’ve never thought that I had to fear my government like this.

Trump’s order to bar citizens from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Sudan was made with the intention to help protect Americans from terrorists. Instead, it kicks around Muslims who do not have the bureaucratic representation to kick back.

Haytham Abu Adel, an imam at the Eugene Islamic Center and a leader of the Muslim community, was born and raised in Yemen, one of the countries currently banned. He studies entrepreneurship at the University of Oregon and has lived in Eugene for five years with his wife and children. He worries he may not be able to take his children back to his home country for a long time.

“I wish I could see my family. I have my two kids and they’re U.S. citizens,” Abu Adel said. With the ban in effect, Abu Adel would not be able to return to the U.S. from Yemen for his studies, but his children would. “I can’t take my kids to see my family. I don’t want them to live in such a crazy environment.”

Abu Adel constantly worries about his family members in Yemen, and is worried that U.S. aggression towards the country will only cause more pain for any side.

“To have this kind of battle is not good for anybody,” Abu Adel said. “It only builds more hate inside people. It’ll encourage people from those hate groups to hate even more.”

I fear that all of this media attention against terrorism will provoke more terrorists, and not from the Middle East. Hours within the executive order, a mosque in Texas was burned down in the middle of the night. Days later, a white male inspired by the alt-right shot and killed six people and injured eight at a mosque in Quebec City. Does anybody really think they’re safer than they were before?

The recent raid in Yemen is the first military offensive ordered by Donald Trump since he became president. The order, meant to recover intel from Al Qaeda, resulted in the death of Chief Petty Officer William Owens, the death of the 8-year-old daughter of American-born Al Qaeda member Anwar al-Awlaki and approximately 30 civilians, including 10 women and children. Trump called the operation a success but gave no details.

“This ban, this war, it is not humane. It separates families,” Abu Adel said. “One of the reasons we live is for family, and I can’t see mine. What’s life worth without family?”

Although ISIS and Al Qaeda have territories in places like Yemen, the amount of American citizens killed by a terrorist from any of the seven nations: zero. Many terrorist attacks in America are caused by American citizens. We can’t forget the Charleston church shooting, Sandy Hook, Pulse Nightclub, the Dallas sniper, Aurora movie theater and Umpqua Community College, all carried out by U.S. citizens over the past five years, totaling over 100 deaths. Many of these shootings are carried out by white males, but I don’t see us banning them anytime soon.

Trump did make exceptions on which Muslim-majority nations could enter the U.S. freely. Coincidentally, these are nations that he has business ties with: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, etc. This leads to the idea of how much of Trump’s policies are affected by his business interests. As a citizen, you have to ask yourself: does Donald Trump care about protecting you, or protecting his assets?

In these predominantly Muslim nations, Donald Trump plans to prioritize Christian refugees over Muslims, with the belief that Christians have had it “very tough.” Both religions have faced the terror of war, but prioritizing Christians over Muslims questions faith equality in the U.S. Do we prioritize Christian refugees because their faith aligns with a majority of America’s? Is Islam welcomed in America?

If you fear Muslims solely for their beliefs, then these things might be true about you: you don’t understand the religion or you’ve never met a Muslim in your life, or both.

Muslims are peaceful people, but just like Christianity and Judaism, they have radical outsiders. Refugees are the innocent victims of war. We’re afraid of being attacked? These people were already attacked by America and jihadists, their homes destroyed, their old lives in ruins — who are we to turn away people who have lost everything due to a war that we participated in?

Donald Trump’s refugee ban and travel restrictions go against the very idea that this country was founded upon. This country was built by immigrants. It was built by dreamers who left their home to make a better life in America. It was built by refugees who feared their own war-torn nation and looked to America for solidarity and acceptance. We’re supposed to be the melting pot. We’re supposed to be the land of opportunity and prosperity.

Currently, we are the land of cowards.


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Billy Manggala

Billy Manggala

Senior Editor of the Opinion Desk, Cat father, Grilled Cheese enthusiast