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March 21, 2017

NIAC Statement on Carry-On Restrictions for Muslim-Majority Countries

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Trita Parsi
Phone: 202-386-6325
Email: [email protected]

The National Iranian American Council released the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s new restrictions targeting travelers on foreign airlines from ten airports in Muslim-majority nations:

“The Trump administration’s decision to bar passengers on foreign airlines in Muslim-majority countries from carrying large electronic devices on board must unfortunately be viewed with skepticism given the administration’s track record of blatant discrimination and impetuous actions on homeland security issues. Given the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to advance an indefensible Muslim ban in spite of multiple courts ruling against it, these new restrictions heighten concerns that this administration is subjecting individuals from Muslim-majority nations to arbitrary and discriminatory measures.

“If Donald Trump is serious about national security, and wants to be taken seriously, his administration needs to repair its enormously damaged credibly. That begins with rescinding its Executive Order barring nationals of six Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the United States. The ban and the President’s past rhetoric not only aids terrorists’ efforts recruiting and radicalizing, but it also clouds the debate over the carry-on restrictions and all future decisions by the administration on homeland security. The administration also must go above and beyond in explaining the specific rationale for this decision and offering full transparency to the American people about such security measures.

“We have warned in the past about a slippery slope of discrimination and, unfortunately, seen it realized. In December 2015, after Trump’s call for a Muslim ban, Congress rushed through a measure barring certain dual nationals from the Visa Waiver Program on the basis of their national heritage. Our warnings that it could lead to further discrimination largely fell on deaf ears, though the list of nationals targeted under those restrictions now serves as the basis for Trump’s attempts to ban Muslims.   

“Those impacted by these new carry-on restrictions – including Saudi Arabia and the UAE whose governments supported the Trump administration’s Muslim ban – should be wary that this could be the first step toward more radical and overtly discriminatory measures targeting their nationals.”

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