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Muslim community members on LI celebrate end of Trump-era travel ban

Ahmed says he initially fought the order until it went into effect via the Supreme Court ratifying it in 2018. Since then, he and others say the ban has kept some Muslim relatives of Long Islanders from visiting or even reuniting with loved ones.

News 12 Staff

Jan 23, 2021, 3:27 AM

Updated 1,270 days ago

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One of the first things Joe Biden did as president was reverse a Trump-era travel ban on people from several predominantly Muslim countries -- a move that has been welcomed by many.
For nearly four years during the Trump presidency, the administration tried to and eventually did ban travel and immigration from 13 countries. It was deemed racist by some and caused outcry because it separated families across the country from relatives abroad.
"It was very unjust when Mr. Trump did that," says Habeeb Ahmed, president of the Islamic Center of Long Island.
Ahmed says he initially fought the order until it went into effect via the Supreme Court ratifying it in 2018. Since then, he and others say the ban has kept some Muslim relatives of Long Islanders from visiting or even reuniting with loved ones.
Dr. Zaki Azam, of Jericho, says relatives missed milestone events like graduations and births.
"All of these rites of passages were on hold for so many because of the Muslim ban," says Azam. "But thankfully they aren't any longer."
At Sabbath services at the Long Island Islamic Center in Westbury, many say they feel like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders with the ban reversed.
"Glad it's over yes, there should be a lot who are happy that they are able to get family back that were stuck for many months now," says Irshad Khan, of Westbury.
The Trump administration said the ban was based on security issues, not on religion.
Terrorism expert Dennis Monette says he wants to support Biden, but believes this reversal could be hasty.
"I think it is very risky at this point without doing an intensive look at the whole situation with our partners throughout the world to see if we should reduce the ban," says Monette.
Muslim advocates say it could take several months or weeks to get travel and immigration going again.
The Biden administration says the backgrounds of travelers from those countries will still be carefully checked.
Rep. Lee Zeldin says he's skeptical, saying, "This executive order's deterioration of these standards is very concerning."


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