Muslim ban: Outrage from many, silence in Gulf, support from Dubai


Dubai's head of security sparks outrage for backing Muslim ban saying 'underdeveloped peoples' do not deserve to be in America

Protesters hold signs outside 10 Downing Street in London at protest at 'Muslim ban' (MEE/Adam Omar)
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Last update: 
Tuesday 31 January 2017 18:14 UTC

Donald Trump's executive order banning people from seven Muslim majority countries as well as all refugees from entering the US has sparked worldwide protests - but also silence and support from some unlikely quarters.

Many in the international community have condemned the measures, including numerous European leaders, and the United Nations. 

Some leaders took to social media to condemn the US president's policy and extend solidarity to refugees and Muslims, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon,

And Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström

But not all Western leaders have condemned the policy, perhaps most notably British Prime Minister Theresa May, who has twice refused to condemn Trump’s suspension of refugees, stating that “The United States is responsible for the United States’ policy on refugees.”

Many took to Twitter to express their views of May’s complicity.

Middle East silence - and support from Dubai

There has also been an unmissable silence from many Muslim-majority states. Leaders of Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been notable for their lack of comment, while the King of Jordan is on his way to visit the US on Tuesday for talks with the Trump administration.

 Who speaks for the Muslims: The Saudis, the Turks or the Germans?

A top UAE official even went so far as to praise Trump’s actions and the measures put in place by the executive order. Dubai’s head of security, Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, openly backed the ban on his Twitter account, sparking outrage. He described Trump as the first US president to truly work for the good of his country.

He also attacked some of the nations included within the ban, describing them as "undeveloped". “It is not necessary for America to accept underdeveloped peoples. It has accepted enough. Unproductive groups do not deserve to be in America, Iranians, Iraqis and Somalis,” he remarked.


There have conversely been some very strong condemnations of Trump’s actions from leaders of some of the countries included in the ban.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif described the ban as “a great gift to extremists” and stated that “collective discrimination aids terrorist recruitment by deepening fault lines exploited by extremist demagogues to swell their ranks”.

Iran also warned in an official statement that reciprocal measures would be taken against US citizens. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani remarked in a speech on Saturday: "Today is not the time to erect walls between nations. They have forgotten that the Berlin wall fell years ago." 

Other nations affected by the ban were more diplomatic. Sudan has described the decision as “very unfortunate” and Iraq has expressed disappointment that their own citizens were included.

Qatar Airways stated it would enforce the ban whilst Qatar's foreign minister said you "cannot consider Islamic countries as a source of terrorism".

Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia have yet to release any official statements, adding to the silence. 

How the people feel

However the silence of their leaders did not stop Middle East citizens from speaking out against the ban. Jordanian cartoonist Emad Hajjaj has shared a number of cartoons highlighting how Trump and the measures he is taking are viewed by the Arab and Muslim world, including portraying him as a Muslim-hating KKK member. 

A Palestinian, Muhammad Sabaaneh, also posted a cartoon referencing three-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi who died at sea fleeing war in Syria in 2015. The cartoon reads, “Syrian?? Muslim?? Go back.”

A Saudi newspaper also shared a cartoon depicting Trump giving the Nazi salute

while a Syrian news agency shared images of Trump as a KKK member saying: "Our country is open to those who believe in tolerance."