From the Sydney Morning Herald
The new President is cravenly political in the countries he decided to put on a refugee and migrant blacklist. And his inclusions and exclusions don't make sense – unless your name is Donald Trump.
Trump claims to be motivated by the horrific September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, but the countries of which the 19 aircraft hijackers were citizens are not on the list – most came from Saudi Arabia and the rest from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon.
Also absurdly absent are Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan – all of them hotbeds of terror. In excluding them, Trump is grovelling to their leaders, not making a gesture to their people.
But there's something a bit more sinister in his choice of targets.
This is a core identity of ours that we are repudiating in a very callous fashion. What do we do — get a new inscription on the Statue of Liberty?In the 40 years to 2015, not a single American was killed on US soil by citizens from any of the seven countries targeted - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - according to research by the conservative-leaning Cato Institute.
Former US ambassador Ryan Crocker
But the same research shows that in the same period nearly 3000 Americans were killed by citizens of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Turkey — most victims of the September 11 attacks.
And oops, wouldn't you know it, Trump has multimillion-dollar business operations in all those countries.
In 2015, he registered eight hotel-related companies in Saudi Arabia, according to The Washington Post; in Turkey, two luxury towers in Istanbul are licensed to use his name; in Egypt, he has two companies; and in the UAE, he has naming and management deals for two golf courses.
Trump's insistence that immigrant vetting must be "extreme" deliberately misrepresents the previous regime as something of a cakewalk.
It was extreme and demeaning for a good number of Muslims, especially for refugees whose lives and connections were picked over for as long three years by the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Department of Defence, the State Department, the National Counterterrorism Centre, and various other US intelligence agencies
And he lies about the fate of Christians seeking entry to the US. "If you were a Muslim [in Syria] you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible," he said in a TV interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network on Thursday. "I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them."
In 2016, the US admitted Christian and Muslim refugees in similar numbers – 37,521 Christians and 38,901 Muslims, according to the Pew Research Centre. But given that the Middle East is overwhelmingly Muslim, the number of Muslims and Christians granted refuge from Syria and Iraq is much more likely to be about proportion than discrimination, as Trump has suggested.
And in singling out the plight of Christians as the victims of Islamic State, Trump is seemingly oblivious to, or just choosing to ignore, the fact that IS has murdered thousands of Muslims around the world.
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