I categorically condemn President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees and travellers from several Muslim-majority countries.
While Trump has claimed that the measure is taken to counter terrorism, it is clear that it is an act of blatant racism, in keeping with Trump’s campaign pledges to build walls of prejudice and animosity against minorities and immigrants around America.
This ban also violates basic principles of international conduct governing the treatment of refugees fleeing war and persecution, fundamental human decency and the elementary rules of humanitarian behaviour that should be observed by civilized nations.
More alarmingly, this ban signals a new phase of state-sponsored Islamophobia, which, if unchecked, will be demonstrated in various ways in both domestic and foreign policies that will collectively have a detrimental effect on the international front and global measures to counter terrorism and other forms of religious extremism.
President Trump, in his new-found position of great power, should be building bridges based on shared values and cultures that could bring East and West, Muslim and non-Muslims closer particularly in these trying times instead of devising policies to isolate and marginalise Muslims, sowing animosity and hatred.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Najib Razak’s silence on the matter speaks volumes about his position more so considering how publicly he has praised Trump’s accession to office and his pledge to work closely with the new administration.
Questions are raised as to this apparently inexplicable wall of silence on the part of Putrajaya and whether it has anything to do with some ongoing international investigation by the Department of Justice.
I therefore call on the Prime Minister to do the right thing and to make a clear stand on this ban just as all right-minded parties and organisations, regardless of race, nationality or religion have done so.
DATO’ SERI MOHAMED AZMIN ALI