When Policy gets Personal: The Muslim Ban

12/05/2017 05:05 pm ET

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the administration’s travel ban on eight countries to proceed while lower courts consider ongoing challenges. Even though the administration has added two non-Muslim majority countries to its “banned“ list for nationals entering our country (under most conditions), I still believe that this policy is designed to target Muslims. Of the eight countries, six are predominantly Muslim. As a result, the Ban potentially prevents more than 100 million Muslims from entering our country.

At Tanenbaum, this matters. Not only because the Ban represents an American policy discriminating against Muslims. But also because it affects us personally.

One of the banned countries is Yemen. For those only exposed to media images of Yemen’s civil war, perhaps that seems logical. But news images do not depict the whole of a country. Yemen is also a country where we have a Muslim Peacemaker, who has spent most of his life stopping violence between tribes and seeking peace.

Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Marwani has been threatened and is at great personal risk in Yemen. But he believes that Allah requires him to risk everything for peace and justice. Because the Ban prevents him from entering the U.S., he cannot share his insights into reducing and resolving conflicts, insights that could be applied elsewhere.

The Muslim Ban—now in force—doesn’t only target a very small number of people, some of whom the administration claims pose a real threat to our country and way of life. It also targets Sheikh Al-Marwani and the more than 100 million Muslims who oppose violence, believe in peace and pursue justice.

That makes the Muslim Ban wrong, overbroad, and personal.

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