Triangle Islamic leader says Trump's travel ban sends 'wrong message'

RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- A Triangle Islamic leader is concerned about the message being sent by President Donald Trump's executive order restricting travel and immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

"The ban is sending the wrong message," said Mohammed Elgamel, chairman of the Islamic Association of Raleigh. "The executive action that was taken recently is against our Muslim tradition, against American values, and against other values we believe in."

Elgamel says there are already stories of hardships caused by Trump's travel ban among the Islamic Center's devout.

"For example, in Syria, they are about to leave Syria and come here, but now their dreams are evaporating," he said. "If the goal is to actually secure our borders, if the goal is to strengthen our sense of well-being and security, it's not doing it.

"It's actually, on the contrary, it's harming it. Because it creates bad feeling, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of Muslims around the world and who's going to be happy about that? The terrorists, DASH or ISIS, are dancing," he added. "They are happy, saying, 'Hey look. America is against Islam.' Of course America isn't against Islam."

Elgamel pointed out that Trump implemented a travel ban from countries that have birthed not one person who has committed a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

"After 9/11," Elgamel said. "President Bush, and before that Presidents Obama and Clinton, went to Islamic centers like this and actually reached out to Muslims in this country."

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That was a point repeated by Rep. David Price, D-NC, at a Monday rally in Durham.

"Stopping people in mid-air, literally, who for years have been working to get in this country; who've played by the rules; who've cleared all the hurdles; who've been vetted and vetted and vetted," Price said. "And he's doing this perpetuating the notion that there's some kind of threat from these people, when there's never been a refugee carry out a terrorist attack in this country."

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Asked about the millions of Americans who voted for Trump on the promise that he would carry out a ban on either Muslims or majority-Muslim countries, Price said, "Certainly Donald trump featured anti-immigrant themes very prominently in his campaign, and he promised a Muslim ban and he promised many things which were said to be, at the time, unconstitutional and unconscionable.

"I'm sorry," Prince continued, "I don't care what he promised. I'm sorry, this is not the way a president behaves."

Sana Alhamed, a refugee originally from Syria and now living with most of her family in Raleigh, agreed.

"I have a daughter still in Jordan and I wanted to bring her here but I don't think I'll be able to do that and I was hoping that once I have my green card, I can visit her," Alhamed said. "But now I hear I may not be able to get a green card, which is really concerning. I really just want to see her, that's all I want. And I want to come back here for my family because my children here attend school, so it's not like I want to go forever, I just want to visit her and come back."

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