On Friday 27 January 2017, US President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order about immigration. The full text can be read on the White House website at the link “Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”
Despite the words “Islam” and “Muslims” never being mentioned in the order, from the choice of countries and other language in the order, it is clear that the order is aimed at Muslims, consistent with Mr Trump’s call while a candidate for a ban on Muslim entry into the USA. The Executive Order has caused signficant concern both outside the USA and inside, and has been criticised by many members of the United States Senate and Congress and by many members of the UK Parliament.
CMF President Lord Sheikh and CMF Chairman Mohammed Amin took action on Monday. They wrote a polite CMF letter to the US Embassy explaining why the Executive Order is not in the best interests of the USA, or of its allies.
Their letter is reproduced below.
CMF letter to US Chargé d’Affaires
30 January 2017
Mr Lewis Lukens
Embassy of the United States of America
24 Grosvenor Square
Dear Mr Lukens
The Conservative Muslim Forum is a voluntary grouping within the British Conservative Party.
Our nine formal aims are set out in our constitution, but they can be distilled into the statement that we encourage British Muslims to engage in the democratic process in our country by voting, joining political parties and standing as candidates, with a particular emphasis on supporting the Conservative Party. Our membership, and our Executive Committee, consists of both Muslims and adherents of other religions. More information about us is available on our website, details at the foot of this letter.
On Friday, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) restricting immigration.
Amongst other provisions, it prohibits for three months entry into the USA of people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. We understand that this EO applies to people who are already lawful residents of the USA holding a “green card” who will not be allowed to re-enter the USA if they were overseas when the EO was made. We also understand that the EO has been challenged in court, and that U.S. District Court Judge Ann Donnelly has stayed removals from the USA under the EO pending a substantive trial of the issues.
We are writing because both of us are friends of the USA. No countries have done more to embed freedom, democracy and the rule of law into the modern world than the UK and the USA. Against that background, we ask you to convey to your President our deep concern regarding this EO. Amongst other matters:
- It feeds the narrative of ISIL/ Daesh that there is irreconcilable conflict between America (and by extension other liberal democracies) and Muslims. While the EO does not name Islam or Muslims, all of the countries have Muslim majorities, and there is widespread acknowledgement both inside and outside the USA that the order is aimed at Muslims. Not least because as a presidential candidate, Mr Trump proposed a ban on Muslims entering the USA.
- It is seriously injurious to lawful residents of the USA seeking to return home. In many cases, it will separate parents from children who are American citizens, and separate green card holding spouses from husbands and wives who are American citizens.
- It damages the reputation of the USA as a beacon for non-discrimination and treatment of people on individual merit. Instead, with no warning, a wide class of people have been prohibited from lawful entry (or re-entry) into the USA. Damaging America’s relationships with not just citizens of the countries listed, but with Muslims everywhere, harms the security of the USA, and the UK, by emboldening those voices preaching division, and alienating Muslims whose support we need in fighting terrorism.
Overall, this EO does not make America a safer place. Instead, it will please ISIS/Daesh and other enemies of co-operation between Muslims and non-Muslims, and feed the narrative of religious strife.
Our advice to your President is to rescind this EO immediately, and to consult widely within the USA regarding measures that will make the USA a safer place, rather than playing into the hands of our mutual enemies.