Demonstrators gather Jan. 30 outside the U.S. Consulate in Toronto to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on refugees from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Photo by Evan Boudreau

Toronto protesters join worldwide outrage against U.S. refugee ban

  • January 31, 2017

About 1,000 protesters descended on the American consulate in Toronto on Jan. 30 to protest a U.S. executive order that establishes a temporary ban on immigrants to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

“Banning any kind of group based on race or ethnicity or anything like that is a form of racism,” said Nazerah Shaikh, a Muslim Canadian. “That creates a lot of fear.”

The protest was one of many around the world to protest the action by President Donald Trump.

Outraged by what she calls “going backwards in history,” Shaikh brought her daughter and three nieces to the politically charged protest for a lesson in the freedom of assembly.

“I need to demonstrate to my children what democracy is … (and) to know what their rights are as citizens,” she said. “Usually we take our sense of security and safety for granted and when things like this happen we have to speak up and rise up.”

Shaikh’s two aging parents live south of the border.

“We are a little bit afraid of going to visit our family there,” she said.

According to the Canadian government, Muslims with dual-citizenship like Shaikh will be allowed into the United States pending standard screening practices. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said access will also be granted to those holding a permanent residency card and foreign passport, including those from countries listed under the travel ban.

Leena Ali, who has family ties to Somalia, Ethiopia and Yemen, also regards the temporary policy as devolution.

“We’ve come this far and now we’re starting over with all of this. It just doesn’t make sense,” she said. “This is like Hitler’s time, with all this hate.”

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