Not Banned But A Danger To Americans

If anyone is to be banned from entering the United States because they present a threat, it should be individuals like the U.A.E. officials who detain and torture Americans with impunity, not innocent refugees and immigrants.

With global outrage condemning President Trump’s executive order banning travel by refugees and individuals from seven predominantly Muslim countries to the United States, it is shocking to see the United Arab Emirates’ Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan make statements supporting the executive order.

Yes, the U.A.E. has close ties with the United States, but the blatant hypocrisy cannot be ignored. General Khalfan states that some of the banned individuals may pose a threat to U.S. security. But as Head of General Security and Deputy Chairman of Dubai Police, Khalfan should be fully aware that there is increasing evidence that Americans face more danger inside countries omitted from the president’s list—such as the United Arab Emirates—than from possible terrorists entering the United States. I unfortunately know this firsthand because I’m one of a growing number of Americans who have been harmed by the U.A.E.

While living in Dubai in April 2013, I was /www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/09/shezanne-cassim-jail-uae-youtube-video"}}">detained by U.A.E. officials, including an acquaintance of Khalfan, because of a comedy video I uploaded to YouTube some months before. Despite the fact that thousands of videos appear on YouTube daily, U.A.E. officials accused me of being part of an international conspiracy bent on threatening the country’s national security. They denied my request for a lawyer, made me sign a false confession written in Arabic—a language I cannot read—and held me in a maximum-security desert prison for months without trial.

U.A.E. security officials have an established record of harming Americans and other foreigners in addition to U.A.E. citizens. From 2014 to 2016, American businessmen Kamal Eldarat and Momed Eldarat, owners of a Subway restaurant franchise, were

Citizens of other countries have fared no better. In 2016, British-Australian Scott Richards was jailed without charge or access to legal representation after he promoted a charity supplying blankets to children. British businessman and lawyer David Haigh was tortured by Dubai officials while jailed for two years over trumped-up allegations. Haigh’s compatriot Lee Bradley Baker died in police custody while on vacation in Dubai in 2011. Since 2011, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office has dealt with at least /www.ibtimes.co.uk/united-arab-emirates-dozens-detained-british-nationals-complain-torture-mistreatment-1551288"}}">37 cases of alleged abuse of British citizens by U.A.E. security officials.

The president politics/trump-syrian-refugees.html?_r=0"}}">claims this travel ban exists because “We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love deeply our people.”

Instead of protecting Americans, this order has endangered innocent people like Hameed Darweesh and /www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/1-_complaint.pdf"}}">Haider Alshawi who worked as interpreters for US troops in Iraq by preventing them from entering the United States. If anyone is to be banned from entering the United States because they present a threat, it should be individuals like the U.A.E. officials who detain and torture Americans with impunity, not innocent refugees and immigrants.

It’s telling that Trump has licensed his name to a golf resort and a luxury development and spa in the U.A.E. The president’s business relationships with the U.A.E., as with other countries, /www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/1/31/14446106/trump-business-corruption-emoluments"}}">raises questions about his willingness to truly hold those responsible for harming Americans to account.

CONVERSATIONS