President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, announced on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, of all days, is discriminatory and dangerous. The ban discriminates since it bans refugees and people from countries where the majority of the population is Muslim, while making an exception for religious minorities.
PAX's General Director, Jan Gruiters, says, "This ban's discrimination based on religion or country of birth is unacceptable and calls for an immediate and unambiguous rejection. It is good that the Dutch government has resolutely dismissed Trump's order." Opposing discrimination is particularly important in the Netherlands at the moment because here, as well, politicians call for an immigration ban for Muslims. Discrimination should never become normal.
Besides being discriminatory, Trump's immigration ban is also dangerous. It stigmatizes and divides people. It confirms ISIS´s propaganda which constantly refers to a perceived struggle between Islam and the West. It also makes cooperation between US military forces with Iraqi security forces in combating violent extremism more difficult.
What we need right now is more political leaders like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Reacting to President Trump's executive order, Prime Minister Trudeau repeated that people fleeing terror and war are welcome in Canada, regardless of their religion. Diversity, he said, is our strength.
Criticism of the US decision to close the door to refugees is needed, but also requires a dose of self-reflection. In many European countries, the door to refugees remains only slightly open, and in some cases closed tight.