Airport security stopped an Exeter student from Iraq flying to the US

Just hours after Trump’s ban

An Exeter student was turned away by homeland security as he tried to board a flight to America at the weekend. Having travelled to London to catch the flight, he was refused entry onto the plane because of Trump’s new executive order, which bans residents from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the US for 90 days.

According to the Express and Echo, the student intended to present an academic paper on his trip, and despite having arranged his visa months in advance, it has been reported that his Iraqi passport stopped him from boarding the plane.

The controversial travel ban has sparked tremendous worldwide furor and widespread protests for its religious discrimination, and bizarrely includes no countries from which radicalised Muslims have actually killed Americans since 9/11.

A national petition against Donald Trump’s state visit has reached over 1.5 million signatures and will be debated in Parliament, while on the evening of the 30th January hundreds of thousands across the UK showed solidarity with Muslims in a swathe of anti-Trump emergency protests.

In Exeter too, hundreds were at Bedford Square holding innovative placards and singing chants such as ‘Sing it loud, sing it clear, refugees are welcome here’

Sir Steve Smith, Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter, said the US travel ban “undermines the principle of academic freedom and jeopardises the advancement of knowledge between nations.”

He said: “At Exeter, we collaborate widely with institutions abroad, including in the United States, and we cannot condone a policy that restricts these freedoms, curtails intellectual partnerships or impedes research.”

 

In a full statement, Sir Steve said: “We are proud to be an international community that welcomes and nurtures the talent of students and academic staff from around the world.

“Without free movement of people and ideas the whole world suffers, and this is why we believe the imposition of travel restrictions by the US government based on nationality both undermines the principle of academic freedom and jeopardises the advancement of knowledge between nations.

“At Exeter, we collaborate widely with institutions abroad, including in the United States, and we cannot condone a policy that restricts these freedoms, curtails intellectual partnerships or impedes research.

“The ban is already affecting members of our community, and we are deeply concerned that an Iraqi postgraduate student at the University of Exeter has been stopped at an airport as he was about to board a plane to America where he had been invited to present an academic paper along with his Professors at a prestigious US institution. The PhD student, who obtained a visa two months ago, has lived and studied in the UK for the past five years.

“The University of Exeter will continue to be a collaborative and diverse community that welcomes people from around the world, regardless of their nationality, and will be actively supporting any staff and students who are affected by the ban.”

 

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