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Analysis: Bahraini views on #MuslimBan

One of the first executive orders signed by President Donald Trump was to ban nationals of seven Muslim majority countries from entering the US. The decision has caused a wave of protests across America and major discontent all over the world.

In Bahrain the decision is generally being perceived as a discriminatory step towards Muslims and nationals of these seven countries. Many Bahrainis worry that this will adversely affect perceptions of America and the West and lead to further radicalization.

Below is a sample of some of the opinions from a range of Bahrainis on the Muslim ban: 

“They should not pay for the mistakes of their Administration”

“We understand that America faces the threats of terrorism, however the decision sounds insensible. If every country starts banning visitors from other countries then we will be left with a terrible world order;” said Khalid, age 27, from Manama. 

“Trump’s executive order does not represent the people of America. I have travelled across the world and I would definitely say that Americans are one of the nicest and most welcoming people on this planet. I hope that this will not lead to hatred towards the people of America as they should not pay for the mistakes of their administration;” said Maryam, age 32, from Riffa. 

“The Muslim ban isn't too surprising to me, as we shouldn't have high expectations from a man who started his campaign by promoting racism towards Mexicans, Muslims and others. A man who actually made fun of people with special needs, a man who wants to build a wall with a neighbouring country and a man who is so arrogant and disrespectful towards his own people and does not understand the beauty in the diversity of the US;” said Salman, age 34, from Isa Town.

“Does this mean that we’ll be next in line?”

“Such a decision will definitely lead to more anti-American narrative in countries across the region. People fail to understand the main reason behind Trump’s decision to ban nationals of these seven countries specifically. Is it because they are Muslim majority countries? There are other Muslim majority countries such as the GCC nations. Does this mean that we’ll be next in line to be banned from entry to the States;” said Ahmed, age 30, from Saar.

“It seems that Mr. Trump does not know the main pillars of US democracy and has probably forgotten the contributions of many immigrants from these seven countries to the growth of America. Immigrants create this unique blend to the American society and have added great value to the US in different walks of life;” said Abdullah, age 32, from Budaiya. 

“The decision includes seven countries now but the list might expand to include other countries. If this goes to another level, we know that that many countries will find it deplorable and this can lead to further friction between the US and countries across the Middle East. This isn't a time to have bad relations as both the US and the Muslim countries need to build on their alliance and coalition to combat terrorism;” said Fatima, age 28, from Sanad.

“Trump is literally going to get people killed”

“If I was an Iraqi, I’d simply say that if this is how their elected president thinks, then I wouldn’t want to go to America anyway. I guess countries have a right to say who can enter their borders, but decisions like this tell us what these countries stand for. People will make their own minds up;” said Ammar, age 36, from Diraz.

“Just a couple of days after this decision, five Muslims were murdered in an attack on a mosque in Canada. Trump is playing with fire when he stirs up Islamophobia and hatred between religions. Trump is literally going to get people killed;” said Hanan, age 29, from Hamad Town.

“We should see tens of thousands of Bahrainis demonstrating outside the American Embassy in solidarity with Yemenis, Iraqis and Syrians; also because of this racist president’s decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem and allowing Israel to build tens of thousands more settlements. Why does nobody do anything about these issues anymore?” said Mohammed, age 23, from Sanabis. 

“A disastrous start to Trump’s presidency”

“Such decisions are unhealthy and could lead to a rise in polarization within the US society. People will start seeing every Muslim or Middle Easterner as a threat so it’s the indirect effect of such a decision that could be very damaging. It took the US a long time to overcome the hatred caused by 9/11 and this can take the country back into the same cycle;” said Abdulrahman, age 38, from Manama. 

“This is a disastrous start to Trump’s presidency. The Muslim ban might lead the US into isolation from world politics with a failure to understand the necessity for the world’s great powers to have wisdom in their decisions. We need a strong and wise America to influence positive change in the world and not an America that causes chaos;” said Eman, age 32, from Muharraq.

“A president should know what’s best for his nation and since Trump believes in his decision then we will have to wait and see how effective this ban is and how it will limit the threats to the US. Some refugees have caused major problems in many countries, they were involved in terrorist attacks that took the lives of innocent people;” said Ali, age 38, from Manama.

“A lot of Americans who simply hate and fear Muslims”

“In 2003 a majority of Americans somehow believed that Saddam Hussein was to blame for 9/11. This same kind of anti-Muslim misinformed propaganda is why you see such a lot of Americans voting for Trump and supporting a stupid decision like this. It’s sad to say, but there are a lot of Americans who simply hate and fear Muslims – even though they’ve probably never met one. They believe that Trump is doing the right thing. We live in a scary world; said Fatima, age 42, from Arad.

“If Trump is putting a travel ban on Iran; he should be doing it for the right reasons – because it is the biggest terrorist state in the world after Israel. American leaders don’t even seem to care about Iranian interference in Arab states. Perhaps they will after Iran totally takes over Syria and Hezbollah starts firing thousands of missiles into Israel from all of the lands it controls. It’s sad that this is what it would take for America to care about what is going on;” said Salah, age 30, from Jasra.

“This is the real America”

“I honestly commend the tens of thousands of Americans who took to the streets in protest of the Muslim ban. This is the real America and what simply makes it great, its warm hearted people! The stances of the many Americans who are outspoken about the Muslim ban is truly great;” said Reem, age 29, from Saar.

“The name given by the media to this decision “Muslim ban” could be misinterpreted and is an attempt to undermine the decision and make it look racist to the extreme. It is not a ban on Muslims from entering the US, it is simply a ban on nationals of seven Muslim majority countries and not all Muslim majority countries or all Muslims;” said Mohammed, age 30, from Riffa.

“Many countries reserve the right to ban nationals of other countries from entering their territories. The only difference in this case is that Trump was honest enough to announce it publicly and openly to the world while the US could have implemented this decision indirectly;” said Hassan, age 30, from Isa Town.

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