World leaders and prominent figures have blasted US President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States as divisive, illegal, insulting and discriminatory.
President Trump signed an executive order Friday, January 27th, barring citizens from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan from entering the country for 90 days and suspended the admission of all refugees for 120 days. The order indefinitely bans entry of those fleeing from war-torn Syria.
While many countries have lambasted the ban, Muslim-majority nations not on the blacklist have remained largely silent — with the exception of Pakistan. Australia, which has implemented hard-line policies against refugees, was one of the few nations to voice support for the ban.
Here’s what some world figures had to say:
Countries on President Trump’s banned list
Iran: President Trump’s immigration order is “insulting” and a “gift to extremists,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry said. Iran will take “reciprocal measures in order to safeguard the rights of its citizens until the time of the removal of the insulting restrictions of the government of the United States against Iranian nationals.”
Iraq: The Foreign Ministry expressed its “regret and astonishment” over the ban, saying it was “unfortunate” the decision had been made, despite the two nations achieving victories in their joint fight against ISIS.
“It is necessary that the new American administration reconsider this wrong decision, and we affirm Iraq’s real desire to strengthen and develop the strategic partnership between the two countries and increase the prospects of cooperation in the counter-terrorism field and economic sphere and all (that) serves both countries’ interests.”
Sudan: “The Sudanese citizens living in the United States are known for their good reputation, respect for American laws, and their lack of involvement in radical and criminal acts,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry said, adding that the Sudanese people are “heirs to the ancient Nile River civilization, which is marked by tolerance and peaceful coexistence.” The ministry called on Washington to remove Sudan from the US list of states that sponsor terrorism.
Yemen: The ban is “not justified” and “supports the terrorists and sows divisions among people,” Yemen’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Abdel-Malak al-Mekhlafi posted on Twitter. The Foreign Ministry said that attempts to classify Yemeni citizens as a probable source for terrorism were “illegal and illegitimate.”
Britain: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson described the ban as “divisive and wrong,” while London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the move was “shameful and cruel.” Their comments came two days after Prime Minister Theresa May became the first foreign leader to officially meet with President Trump. May and President Trump had celebrated their countries’ “special relationship” Friday, and just hours later the order was signed. May came under pressure from MPs to condemn the ban.
She eventually put out a statement saying her government did “not agree” with it, but said immigration was “a matter for the government of the United States.”
A petition on the UK Government and Parliament website to prevent President Trump from making a state visit to the UK passed the 1 million mark on Monday morning.
France: Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that welcoming refugees was “a duty of solidarity.” “Terrorism doesn’t have a nationality; discrimination is not an answer,” he said on Twitter.
Germany: “The necessary and decisive fight against terrorism in no way justifies a general suspicion against people of certain beliefs, in this case people of the Muslim faith or from a certain origin,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “These actions, according to my beliefs, are against the core idea of international aid for refugees and international cooperation.”
A spokesman for Merkel earlier said that the Chancellor had called President Trump on Saturday to explain to him the United States’ obligations under the Geneva Convention on refugees.
Turkey: Refugees are welcome, said Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek on Twitter, in one of the few statements to emerge from a Muslim-majority country not on President Trump’s blacklist. “We’d happily welcome global talent not allowed back into #USA,” he wrote.
Australia, Canada, Pakistan
Australia: “It is vital that every nation is able to control who comes across its borders,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said, becoming one of the few leaders to openly show support for the ban. Turnbull spoke to President Trump on Sunday to discuss “the importance of border security and the threat of illegal and irregular migration.”
Under a “one-off” agreement, Australia plans to transfer hundreds of refugees currently held in offshore detention centers to the US. Some 1,300 people, including registered refugees, are being held in the Australian government centers on the Pacific Island nation of Nauru and on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.
Canada: Closer to home, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended the importance of welcoming refugees, without explicitly referring to President Trump’s executive order. He said that those fleeing persecution, terror and war were welcome in Canada.
Pakistan: Even though it’s a Muslim-majority country, Pakistan is not on President Trump’s blacklist. But Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar denounced the travel ban, saying it won’t affect terrorists. Instead, Nisar said, it will “increase the miseries of victims of terrorism.”
“The worst sufferers of terrorism are Muslims, and they have given the most sacrifices against this scourge,” he said.
Saudi Arabia: The government of Saudi Arabia, a Muslim-majority country that is not among the seven countries named in President Trump’s order, has not publicly taken a position but it’s national airline, Saudi Airlines, has issued a statement. The statement, which was translated by CNN, said citizens from the seven affected countries “will not be permitted to travel with Saudi Airlines. Citizens with diplomatic visas or who work for international organizations and hold valid visas are an exception.”
The airline also said passengers with reservations who weren’t able to travel to the U.S. because of the ban won’t be charged ticket change fees and may be able to receive a full refund.
Europe’s far-right cheers
Britain’s most vocal Brexit figure, Nigel Farage, welcomed President Trump’s executive order. “He was elected to get tough. He was elected to say he would do everything in his power to protect America from infiltration by ISIS terrorists. There are seven countries on that list. He is entitled to do this. He was voted in on this,” Farage told the BBC.
Other far-right leaders in Europe also said they agreed with the ban.
“No more immigration from any Islamic country is exactly what we need,” said Dutch far-right Party for Freedom founder and leader Geert Wilders on Twitter. “Also in The Netherlands Islam and freedom are incompatible.”