No sooner had Joseph Biden entered the White House yesterday than he began rescinding some of his predecessor’s strong immigration policies.
Consider the so-called “Muslim ban.” In 2017, Trump issued travel restrictions into the U.S. from various nations. The list currently contains eight: Chad, Iran, Somalia, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. Although North Korea and Venezuela have nothing to do with Islam, and although dozens of other Muslim nations were not included, in an effort to present Trump’s policy as “Islamophobic,” then and now his enemies refer to the travel restrictions as a “Muslim ban.” Or, in the words of the Biden White House, a policy “rooted in religious animus and xenophobia.”
In reality, Trump banned entry from those eight nations because they were all, to various degrees, involved in terrorism and/or posed a serious security threat to the U.S. Most or all of them regularly appear on the State Department’s list of “countries of particular concern,” while others are known state sponsors of terrorism.
Interestingly, and perhaps even more tellingly, most of these eight nations appeared on another list just a few days ago. On January 14, 2021, Open Doors, an international human rights organization that annually ranks the 50 worst nations that persecute Christians, published its latest findings. Six of the eight nations affected by Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban”—that is, 75 percent of them—are on this list.
North Korea (#1) is the worst: “Being discovered as a Christian is a death sentence.” The other nations—Somalia (#3), Libya (#4), Yemen (#7), Iran (#8), Syria (#12)—are not much better. As with North Korea, they too, as part of the absolute worst 12, are all categorized as nations where “extreme persecution” occurs.
For the record, Open Doors, which compiled this list, is critical of Trump, i.e., its findings are not politically motivated.
Of course, you may not care much about what happens to Christians; even so, rest assured that these aforementioned nations that persecute Christians do so less because they know or care about Christianity, and more because they simply hate and prey on “the other”—that is, you, if you’re not Muslim.
Despite all this, Biden has denounced Trump’s strict travel measures against these eight nations as “inconsistent with American values.” Moreover, and as one of his very first acts, Biden has just issued an order that “instructs the State Department to restart visa processing for affected countries and to swiftly develop a proposal to restore fairness,” as well as to increase “information sharing” with foreign governments and nations.
Only time will tell what the ramifications of this ease on travel restrictions will be.
By the way, and in closing, that six of the eight nations on Trump’s “ban” are Muslim—and that nearly 80 percent of the nations that persecute and maul Christians and other minorities are Islamic—is and always has been less a reflection of “Islamophobia” and more a reflection of why the fear of Islam exists in the first place.
Raymond Ibrahim, author of Sword and Scimitar, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.