Traveling to America While Muslim

Source: The New York Times

By 

Sulaika Abokor, a Somali-born elementary-school teacher in London, dreams of “a road trip from Seattle to California.” The 34-year-old was planning a vacation to Seattle this summer to see a friend who was recently married. She fell in love with the green, outdoorsy city when she last visited in 2010. But, because of the Trump administration’s travel ban prohibiting most visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries, she now says, “That’s not going to happen.”

Contrary to recent reports of the United States being inundated with international travelers this year, with international arrivals and travel-related spending in the United States up in 2017 compared with the same period last year, a subset of travelers — British Muslims — is rethinking its plans. While no statistics in Britain are available, a significant number of British Muslims say they are eschewing United States travel in light of the ban, according to Muslim officials and anecdotal evidence from interviews in Britain.

“This concern is unlikely to be held just by a small minority of British Muslims,” said Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, the country’s largest Muslim organization. “Some British Muslims don’t want to go to the United States because of the hassle of traveling there.” There are concerns, he said, “because of the fears of what might happen when they travel or arrive there.”

Ms. Abokor is among them. Like me, Ms. Abokor is a British citizen who has a dual nationality; the other is from Somalia, one of the Muslim-majority countries singled out by the ban. For her, a trip to the United States is “no longer attractive.” She said she does not feel confident enough to try boarding a flight to Seattle.

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