Arabic Professor Discusses Trump’s Immigration and Refugee Ban, Her Family, and Syria

10 months ago Comments Off on Arabic Professor Discusses Trump’s Immigration and Refugee Ban, Her Family, and Syria

Trump’s Immigration and Refugee Ban has generated significant controversy, sparking protests all over the nation.

One professor that can attest to being directly impacted by Trump’s executive order is Samar Zahrawi, assistant professor of Middle Eastern Studies where she teachers Arabic. Zahrawi and her family escaped Syria in 2013 in midst of the Syrian Civil War.

Syria is one of the seven countries that refugees were banned from entering the United States with President’s Trump’s executive order.

“First, a president’s duty is to protect his nation from the threat of terrorism, but, he [Trump] must be very aware where is terrorism coming from in the first place,” Zahwrawi said.

She went on to say that Syrians terrorists have not attacked the USA’s security and that the many Syrians hate ISIS.

“ISIS is the enemy of the Syrians themselves and they hate ISIS,” Zahwrawi said. “They view them as nomadic people who are extremist, who are Islamic extremist, and who do not belong to the social fabric of Syria.”

Zahwari believes that the refugee ban is not effective in protecting the U.S. from terrorism.

“So the ban for the Syrians to come into the United States, I don’t think it will affect the threat of terrorism, not in the least; neither positively nor negatively,” Zahwari said.

Zahrawi’s family was significantly affected by the executive order. She is unable to see her mother and son with the travel ban intact.

“My mother is living there in Syria and she was planning to come and visit me during the summer,” Zahrawi said. “At the moment, with this ban, I cannot see my mom. I have a son who is with an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) working in Germany and he is a permanent resident of Germany. He hasn’t been able to get a visa to visit us, his mom and dad.”

The executive order has changed Zahrawi’s family’s ability to be connected like most regular families.

“I am extremely affected, negatively affected by this,” Zahrawi said. “A family needs to be in touch with each other in order to have solidity, in order to have sanity, and my son cannot see his brother now. And he hasn’t seen him for six years now. And this summer, we were planning to have a family reunion and we cannot do this.”

Since this ban has been enacted and the strain been put on her family, Zahrawi’s daughter said she is disappointed with her experience in America.

“This is not the USA I was dreaming of,” Zahrawi’s daughter said. “I was dreaming of a country where there’s a lot of freedom, where there’s more respect for humanity, and more support and more sympathy and more empathy with the humanity of the refugees.”

The Syrian Civil War has placed Syria under a great crisis that is tearing the nation apart. Those who wanted to escape the situation cannot now.

“Syria now as it is under war and there are so many people who are homeless, who are displaced, who are under danger, who need to take refuge in other countries,” Zahrawi said. “Some of them were looking forward to come to the United States as refugees.”

According to Zahrawi, many Syrians she has talked to are upset that Syrians are being stereotyped as villains, unwanted refugees and potential terrorists

She believes that this ban will reflect Muslims in a negative light. She wants the fear of Islam to be lifted in the United States.

“I think that this ban is going to harm Muslim people in general,” Zahrawi said. “We need to lift the fear because is not conducive to any peace. Fear is conducive to hatred and it’s conducive to conflicts.”

According to Zahrawi, the U.S. will be seen poorly due to the ban. Her hope is that the U.S. will be involved more positively in global affairs.

“The United States, with this ban, looks like a country that lacks humanity and empathy,” Zahrawi said. “With the crisis that is going out there in the same globe we cannot separate the USA from the rest of the trouble that is going on. The United States should be involved in a very constructive and very positive way in order to solve the problem before it reaches into the United States.”