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Trump suspends refugee program, vowing to weed out Islamic radicals

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US President Donald Trump signed a sweeping new executive order Friday to suspend refugee arrivals and impose tough controls on travelers from seven Muslim countries.

Making good on one of his most controversial campaign promises, and to the horror of human rights groups, Trump said he was making America safe from “radical Islamic terrorists.”

“This is big stuff,” he declared at the Pentagon, after signing an order entitled: “Protection of the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.”

Trump’s decree suspends the entire US refugee resettlement program for at least 120 days while tough new vetting rules are established. These new protocols will “ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.”

In addition, it specifically bars Syrian refugees from the United States indefinitely, or until the president himself decides that they no longer pose a threat.

Meanwhile, no visas will be issued for 90 days to migrants or visitors from seven mainly-Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

– Extreme vetting –
During the suspensions of the refugee and visa programs, new rules will be devised for what Trump has called “extreme vetting” of applicants’ backgrounds.

Some exceptions will be made for members of “religious minorities,” which — in the countries targeted by the decree — would imply favorable treatment for Christians.

Civil liberties groups and many counterterrorism experts condemned the measures, declaring it inhumane to lump the victims of conflict in with the extremists who threaten them.

“‘Extreme vetting’ is just a euphemism for discriminating against Muslims,” said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

By choosing countries with Muslim majorities for tougher treatment, Romero argued, Trump’s order breaches the US Constitution’s ban on religious discrimination.

Ahmed Rehab, director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said his group would mount legal challenges to fight the order “tooth and nail.”

“It is targeting people based on their faith and national origin, and not on their character or their criminality,” he told AFP.

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist and Nobel peace laureate who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, said she was “heartbroken” and urged Trump not to abandon the world’s “most defenseless children and families.”

Speaking at a tourism convention in Tehran Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani did not comment directly on the visa ban but said Iran had “opened its doors” to foreign tourists since the signing of a nuclear agreement with world powers in 2015.

He also said now was “not the time to build walls between nations,” a remark that followed Trump’s order to construct a wall along the US-Mexico border.

– The most vulnerable –
The tough travel controls will be popular with Trump’s nationalist base, and stop short of a threat made during last year’s campaign to halt all Muslim travel to the United States.

Trump’s supporters defend the measures as necessary to prevent supporters of Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State group from infiltrating the US homeland disguised as refugees.

And the State Department, which with the Department of Homeland Security will have to implement the measures, said it was ready to put them into immediate effect.

“We will announce any changes affecting travelers to the United States as soon as that information is available,” spokesman Mark Toner said.

“We take seriously our responsibility to safeguard the American public while remaining committed to assisting the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Trump’s order also cut the number of refugees the United States plans to resettle in fiscal year 2017 — which is calculated from last October — from 110,000 to 50,000.

During the Pentagon ceremony, he also signed an order to “rebuild” the US military and watched Vice President Mike Pence swear in former Marine general James Mattis as his new secretary of defense.

Trump showered Mattis with praise. Earlier he had admitted he would allow the general’s opposition to the use of torture to override his own enthusiasm for harsh measures.

– ‘Wonderful thing’ –
In what was a busy day from Trump, one week after his inauguration, he also met with Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, the first foreign leader to visit his White House.

He hailed the “most special relationship” between the twin Atlantic powers and praised Britain’s decision to leave the European Union as a “wonderful thing.”

“When it irons out, you’re going to have your own identity, and you are going to have the people that you want in your country,” Trump said, in a nod to his own immigration stance.

“You’re going to be able to make free trade deals without having somebody watching you and what you are doing.”

May conveyed an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II for Trump to come to Britain for a state visit this year, and thanked him for his “100 percent” support of NATO.

Over the weekend, Trump is due to make calls to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, France’s President Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

He is keen to develop friendly ties with Moscow, but played down reports that he might quickly end US economic sanctions imposed on Russia for its intervention in Ukraine.



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  • BUHARI an ISLAMIST TERRORIST

    14 TOP SCARY QUOTES OF BUHARI

    “I will continue to show openly and inside me the total commitment to the Sharia movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria. God willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the Sharia in the country.” – Buhari (Thisday, August 27, 2001)

    “If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon will all be soaked in blood.” – Buhari (Vanguard May 15, 2012)

    “The last general election was anything but free and fair. The only political parties that could complain of election rigging are those parties that lacked the resources to rig.” – Buhari (First Speech after Military Coup, 31 December, 1983)

    “No, no, no; Abacha did not steal Nigeria’s money.” – Buhari (10th Anniversary of Abacha’s death)

    “The declaration of state of emergency in three Northern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe is a grave injustice against the North.” – Buhari (Liberty Radio, June 2, 2013)

    “I live on borrowing. I borrowed from the banks to build the house in Daura and the one in Abuja and Kano. The bank then was Barclays, now Union Bank.” – Buhari (The SUN Exclusive Interview, December 24, 2012)

    “When the Niger Delta militants started their activities in the Southsouth, they were invited by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua. An aircraft was sent to them and their leaders met with the late President in Aso Rock and discussed issues. They were given money and a training scheme was introduced for their members. But when the Boko Haram emerged in the North, members of the sect were killed, this is unfair”. – Buhari (Liberty Radio, Kaduna May 14 2012)

    “Muslims should only vote those who will promote Islam. We are more than the Christians if you add our Muslim brothers in the West.”- Buhari (Liberty Radio Kaduna, 2003)

    “This campaign is the third and last one for me; since, after it, I will not present myself again for election into office of the president.” – Buhari (April, 2011 at the Int’l Conference Centre, Abuja)

    “I’ll stabilize oil market if elected.” – Buhari (Channels TV Interview, 2014)

    “Why should Christians be concerned when Muslim cut off their limbs? After all, the limbs that are being cut off are Muslim ones and not Christian. So why should Christians bother about it?? – Buhari (Liberty Radio, Kaduna 2003)

    “If there is a repeat of the Civil War again, I will kill more Igbos to save the country.” – Buhari (BBC Hausa Service, 2015)

    “I can die for the cause of Islam if necessary. We are prepared to fight another Civil War. We cannot be blackmailed into killing Sharia.” – Muhammadu Buhari (Freedom House, 2000)

    “I’ll make Naira equal in value to dollar.” – Muhammadu Buhari (Vanguard, March 23, 2015)

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