Muslim ban: Iraqis call for reciprocal measures

Parliament committee calls on Baghdad to ‘reciprocate’ travel ban on Americans as Iraqis express sense of betrayal.

Erbil, Iraq
Botan Mahmoud Hassour, who is applying for a US visa, shows pictures of when he worked with the US military in Iraq [Reuters]

Iraq should “reciprocate” the United States’ discriminatory travel ban on Iraqis and citizens from six other Muslim-majority countries, the parliament’s foreign affairs committee told the Baghdad government.

The committee issued the call on Sunday following a meeting in the capital to discuss US President Donald Trump’s ban.

“We ask the Iraqi government to reciprocate to the decision taken by the US administration,” said the committee in a statement read to Reuters by one its members, Hassan Shwerid. “Iraq is in the frontline of the war of terrorism … and it is unfair that the Iraqis are treated in this way.”

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Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation force also called for a ban, and for Americans already in the country to be expelled.

Popular Mobilisation is a coalition of Shia paramilitary groups armed and trained by Iran to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

An Iraqi government body approved the force last year.

Iraqi interpreters’ long wait for US visas

Popular Mobilisation’s call to ban US nationals came in a statement published by its spokesman, Ahmed al-Assadi.

From the northern city of Erbil, Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid reported that there was a “sense of betrayal and anger” among Iraqis, especially those who had helped and worked with the Iraqi forces.

“They are saying that they are shocked and feel betrayed, that the friends of America have been betrayed, and the enemies of America have been vindicated.

“There’s anger among people who would never even dream of going to America, but they feel that they should not have been subjected to this blanket ban just for being an Iraqi.”

Our correspondent said Iraq’s government is now under pressure to take action against the US. 

In Chicago, Al Jazeera’s John Hendren reported that a former colleague’s elderly father who was on his way to the US became stranded in Qatar following Trump’s order, and was eventually forced to return to Iraq.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies