Syrian family in Triangle fears revived travel ban will block young daughter
Posted February 6
Cary, N.C. — Abdullah Khadra and his family are racing the clock, trying to bring their daughter to the Triangle before a travel ban decreed by President Donald Trump can be reinstated in the courts.
"This is absolutely inhumane and ridiculous," said Khadra, a Syrian who is on a work visa to teach at an Islamic school in Cary.
Khadra and his wife, who also teaches at the school, had to go to Jordan last fall for a family emergency. The visa for their 3-year-old daughter, Muna, expired before they could return, and they have been trying for weeks to renew the visa.
"Every day, she calls and she cries," he said.
The travel ban, which was put on hold late Friday by a federal judge in Washington state, only complicates the family's problems. Under the president's executive order, all immigration from Syria and six other predominantly Muslim countries was halted for three months, while all refugees were blocked for four months – Syrian refugees are prevented from entering the U.S. indefinitely.
Since the travel ban was lifted, a family of six from Sudan arrived in the Triangle over the weekend, and another Syrian family is scheduled to arrive Tuesday.
Khadra said Trump's order was discouraging.
"It broke our hearts," he said. "It made an end for our tries."
Community activist Faisal Khan said he and others have formed a support network and are trying to help ease the anxieties of immigrants and refugees who come to the Triangle.
"You have to prepare yourself, get ready and then again, not knowing what's going to take place at the airports when they arrive here because there's been all kinds of news of people being stopped, interrogated, detained for days or hours," Khan said.
Jewish leaders in the Triangle spoke out Monday against the travel ban and expressed support for refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. They said the Torah tells Jews to remember that they too have been refugees and that their faith demands that they welcome people who are fleeing persecution.
Rabbi Lucy Dinner, of Temple Beth Or in Raleigh, said there is a need to protect Americans, but Trump's plan isn't the way to do it.
"We must address terrorist acts based on evidence, not by singling out an entire group of people based on their faith," Dinner said. "Not only is it the right thing to do, it is more effective at keeping us safe."
Duke University Imam Abdullah Antepli also spoke at an interfaith news conference on behalf of refugees who've been turned away after years of vetting, calling the travel ban immoral and painful to the Muslim community.
Khadra said he just wants to have his family together again.
"Still we have hope that we will apply humanitarian peril or something," he said of getting Muna to the U.S. any way he can.