Trump fears

An increasing number of Barbadian Muslims had their United States visas revoked in recent weeks, while there has been an upsurge in the number of application denials, says secretary of the Barbados Muslim Association (BMA) Suleiman Bulbulia.

And, following US president Donald Trump’s controversial executive banning travel to the US by citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries, Bulbulia anticipates an even tougher time for local Muslims looking to travel to the US.

The BMS official said he was not sure if any member of the Barbadian Muslim population had come from any of the banned countries.

However, he feared members of his community would feel the effects of the order.

“Added to the trend and mindset that is coming from the US government is an apprehension on the part of Muslims when it comes to travelling there. Within recent months, even before Trump came into power there have been incidents where we have had persons having their visas revoked or not getting a visa to travel to the [United] States for business or tourist purposes.

“We have a good relationship with the US embassy here, we have had that for a number of years, we have highlighted our concerns to them about upstanding people in our community being unable to access visas and all cases they say that they don’t give reasons for  visa denials or revocations but that persons are free to reapply. We believe that in light of what is happening this situation is going to get even worse and drive more people to not want to travel there,” Bulbulia said.

Trump’s executive order suspended the entire US refugee admissions system for 120 days, suspended the Syrian refugee programme indefinitely, banned entry from seven majority-Muslim countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – for 90 days and banned entry of dual-nationals who are from those seven countries but have an additional passport for the next 90 days.

Some visa categories, such as diplomats, are not included in the suspension, and British foreign secretary Boris Johnson announced yesterday citizens of the United Kingdom who migrated from the seven countries would be allowed to travel to the US.

Bulbulia told Barbados TODAY the latest developments had not caught the Muslim community by surprise, as they had taken note of rhetoric hurled at the religious group during Trump’s presidential campaign.

“We have been monitoring things as they unfold and we have been doing so since the campaign began for [US] presidential elections last year. We were very concerned with some of the rhetoric that was coming out on the campaign trail by Donald Trump. Now he has taken over the presidency we are even more concerned as executive orders are being signed and put into effect that ultimately affect Muslims across the world . . . . The premise is that it is for security purposes but this only adds feeling that Muslims are not to be trusted,” the local Muslim spokesman said.

The executive order prompted protests across the United States and in the United Kingdom, and has been criticized by some world and business leaders.

This has brought some comfort to Bulbulia.

“We are heartened by the overwhelming support that is coming from Americans against the Trump administration and against these policies and are coming out in support of Muslims and Muslim refugees ,” he said. 

3 Responses to Trump fears

  1. Hal Austin February 1, 2017 at 3:51 am

    As I understand it, Barbados is not on the banned list, so why should revoked visas for Barbadians have anything to do with the new US policy? Presumably, they were traveling on Barbadian passports?
    Have the visas been revoked for other reasons which the US embassy has chosen not to share with the authorities in Barbados?
    This is a good story, but badly executed. Has the reporter spoken to the US embassy, or to any of those who had visas revoked?
    Readers have been left with too little information. It looks to me as if Barbados Today is being used to have a rant at the US.

    • Richard Johnston February 1, 2017 at 7:56 am

      The title of the article is “Trump Fears,” which are more than justified among Muslims anywhere, since President Trump asked “Ameria’s Mayor” Rudi Giuliani to craft a Muslim-exclusion order “and do it legally.” The outrage in the US is justified, and even the Senate majority leader McConnell said “We do not have religious tests.” It is clear the order has given ISIS the best recruitment boost it could have wanted.

      Trump is simply pandering to his militantly ignorant followers. That notwithstanding, the paper owes it to its readers to follow up with the US embassy and other authorities to determine the real (not “alternative”) facts, and to try to find out the reason certain people’s visas were withdrawn. Witch hunts are standard operating procedure in the US.

  2. Peter February 1, 2017 at 10:39 am

    This ban might not have anything to do with Barbadians at this juncture. But Hal, It is now required for EVERY UNITED STATES VISA applicant and landed non-American visitor and or Green Card holder, to declare ALL social websites in the past 3 years. This can be YouTube, Google, Algezeera . Which , according to the subject matter, they can be refused entry at the airport. No exceptions Not even holders of diplomatic passports, Richard you are correct in saying that Trump is simply pandering his military ignorance or as I would have termed it, his lack of military knowledge compounded with his paranoia which overflows and brings out his bullying behavior.


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