Local Muslim leader said Trump's immigration ban is 'appalling'

Posted at 6:47 PM, Jan 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-29 00:05:32-05

CINCINNATI -- A local Muslim leader condemned President Trump’s executive order, which bans people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.

The order, signed Friday, bars citizens from seven countries from entering the U.S. for at least the next 90 days, prohibiting approximately 134 million people from entering the U.S. from countries including Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

Dr. Ashraf Traboulsi, vice chair of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, said Trump's executive order is “appalling.”

"We are not penalizing the perpetrators,” Traboulsi said. “We are penalizing the victims of war … this is against any, all the moral standards of this country.

“We are closing our doors for the most vulnerable, for the people who need our help, the people who deserve our help and (we’re) saying, ‘We don’t care.’”

During his campaign, Trump called for developing "extreme vetting" screening procedures in an effort to weed out potential terrorists. The opening section of the executive order says "in order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles." 

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown released a statement Saturday denouncing Trump’s executive order, saying it may “actually undermine our long-term security.”

“Keeping America safe must be our top priority, and we do that by aggressively going after terrorism wherever it exists, not by turning our backs on children and families just like ours, whose only goal is to escape violence and persecution,” Brown said in part of the statement.

Leaders from the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati agreed the executive order is too broad and negatively impacts too many innocent families. The center released a statement signed by more than 40 community groups. 

The statement, in part, said:

"Although these measures purport to deal with the threat of terrorism, there is little evidence to support that claim. What they do however, is to cast a dark cloud over the entire American Muslim population … we will maintain an attitude of charity and openness to all … including those with whom we most profoundly disagree."

Trump's executive order also prohibits refugees from entering the U.S. for four months and asks the secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a review to determine which countries do not provide "adequate information" for citizens to be issued visas to enter the U.S. 

Traboulsi said Trump’s order tells many who have experienced persecution that they are not welcome in America. 

"We are children and grandchildren and great grandchildren of people who came to this  country fleeing different circumstances, and we made it, and that's what made this country great,” Traboulsi said.

According to the order, refugees should be prioritized for entry on the basis of religious persecution, "provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion."

Trump also banned Syrian refugees from entering the country, saying their entry is "detrimental to the interests of the United States."

The purpose of the executive order is “to keep America safe,” a senior White House official said.

Trump’s order makes it clear those seven countries are just a starting point for a future ban that may be more broad. 

WCPO- 9 On Your Side reached out to Senator Rob Portman, but no one was immediately available for comment.