Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city leaders appeared at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Koreatown Wednesday to denounce President Donald Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority nations and offer their support for travelers affected by it.

“We must always protect our country and our people from harm, and should take every necessary measure to secure the homeland,” Garcetti said. “But banning people based on religion or country of origin is not only un- American, it is dangerously counter to our national security. There are effective, rational, humane and constitutional strategies to keep Americans safe — and that is what we expect the president to offer the American people.”

Trump’s executive order, which he signed Friday, suspends all refugee entries for 120 days, indefinitely blocks all Syrian refugees and bars entry for 90 days to all immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

The order sparked protests at airports around the country, including at Los Angeles International Airport, where several thousand protesters shut down vehicle traffic at one point on Sunday.

The Muslim ban has resulted in chaos and trauma for affected families,” Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said.

“Silence equals complicity. We have a moral obligation to be on the front lines to fight against the scapegoating of any targeted group. When we allow any community to be singled out on the basis of fear and paranoia, the civil rights of everyone are compromised.”

City Attorney Mike Feuer also spoke at the event. Feuer spent much of Sunday night at the airport, seeking to meet with people who were detained by federal agents as they arrived with valid visas or work permits, but was rebuffed by federal agents.

“We must stand up for an America that embraces refugees, unites families and respects basic rights,” Feuer said.

I went to LAX this weekend because those values are in jeopardy; the lives and liberty of real people are under threat. Those challenges haven’t gone away in the last couple days. It continues to be up to us to respond to the voices of fear and division by finding the common ground our nation so desperately needs.”

Trump has defended his order as necessary to protect the country from terrorists.

After the order was announced, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, Coming into this country is still a privilege. We’re the greatest country on Earth. Being able to come to America is a privilege, not a right. And it is our duty and it’s the president’s goal to make sure that everybody who comes into this country — to the best of our ability — is here because they want to enjoy this country and come in peacefully.”

Board members at the Islamic Center said many Muslims in Los Angeles are concerned about their families being split up due to Trump’s order.

“There is danger, but with the leadership of this assembly today, there is hope,” said Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. “We need to preserve our pluralism for true security.”

The Islamic Center also announced plans to hold a rally on Feb. 19.

–City News Service 

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