The United Arab Emirates’ foreign minister has said that US President Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens of seven mainly Muslim countries, which has triggered global outrage, is not Islamophobic and does not target any one religion.
Trump’s order affecting nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has sparked protests across the United States and beyond. Four US states have filed legal cases against the travel ban for alleged religious discrimination.
But Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, foreign minister of the UAE – a Muslim country – defended the ban on Wednesday.
He said that most Muslims and Muslim countries were not included in the ban.
The affected countries, he added, faced “challenges” that they needed to address.
“The United States has taken a decision that is within the American sovereign decision,” he said at a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in the capital, Abu Dhabi.
“There are attempts to give the impression that this decision is directed against a particular religion, but what proves this talk to be incorrect first is what the US administration itself says … that this decision is not directed at a certain religion.”
Trump on Friday signed the executive order that will curb immigration and the entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, saying it was a necessary measure to improve national security.
He separately said he wanted the US to give priority to Syrian Christians fleeing the conflict there.
Culled from Aljazeera