Christian Iranian Refugee Fears Persecution May Increase if US Prioritizes Christian Refugees

Police redirect travelers after the security check point was closed due to protests in Terminal 4 at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California, U.S., January 28, 2017. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

A Christian refugee from Iran, who is now a U.S. citizen and voted for President Donald Trump, says he’s shocked by the executive order temporarily banning Iranian citizens from entering to the United States and believes Christians might face even greater persecution overseas.

The persecuted Christian, who chose to be identified only by the name Amir, told The Christian Post in a phone interview that he came to the U.S. seven years ago from Iran and is now a church planter.

Back home in Iran he faced persecution by the Islamic regime for his Christian faith and for distributing Bibles. He came to the U.S. to have freedom.

Amir said that in November he voted for Trump in the presidential election, and although he can understand some of the security concerns behind the order and the temporary ban, he was left confused as to why Iran was named among the seven Muslim-majority nations whose citizens will be banned for 90 days from coming to the U.S., should Trump’s order be reinstated.

“I was quite shocked by the Iran name” appearing on the list, Amir told CP, noting that Iranian nationals have not been involved in any recent terror attacks, as opposed to others, such as Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, and Egypt, who did not make the list.

Amir said that Iran was already among the Muslim-majority nations subject to Visa Waiver Program travel restrictions under former President Barack Obama, adding that he understands the security concerns of many Americans.

“I know the U.S. is always a target of terrorism,” he said, reflecting that in some ways he feels conflicted about the temporary travel ban.

“For me, I don’t know what I should do. I cannot say it’s a good thing, I cannot say it’s a bad thing,” Amir said.

He then asked why the U.S. is not putting pressure on Turkey, adding that he lived in that country for several years and witnessed how harshly refugees were treated there.

“The U.S. government needs to put more pressure on Turkey, because the Turkish government does not care about refugees over there. The refugees in Turkey — they don’t have the right to send their kids to school, they don’t have the right for many things. They work on the black market for many years, they are treated like trash,” Amir said.

He argued that most Iranians would have been happy if Iranian government officials and their families were prevented from getting residency in the U.S., yet Trump’s order would block all ordinary Iranian citizens instead.

“They should ban Iranian government and government people, we would be so happy about that. Ninety percent of people will be so happy. Why do they allow government people’s kids to come to the U.S., but normal people with hopes and dreams who want to come to a free country” are banned from doing so, he asked.

Trump’s order, which also aims to temporarily suspend the U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days, and to indefinitely suspended Syrian refugees, was hit with a setback on Friday when U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, Washington, halted the temporary measure.

A U.S. appeals court further denied on Sunday a request from the Department of Justice to restore Trump’s order, while a federal appeals court is set to hear arguments over the ban on Tuesday.

Amir revealed that some families adversely affected by the order during the handful of days it was active.

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Source: Christian Post