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Global backlash grows against Trump’s immigration order

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A global backlash against U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration curbs gathered strength on Sunday as several countries including long-standing American allies criticized the measures as discriminatory and divisive.

Governments from London and Berlin to Jakarta and Tehran spoke out against Trump’s order to put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily ban travelers from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries. He said the move would help protect Americans from terrorism.

In Germany – which has taken in large numbers of people fleeing the Syrian civil war – Chancellor Angela Merkel said the global fight against terrorism was no excuse for the measures and “does not justify putting people of a specific background or faith under general suspicion”, her spokesman said.

She expressed her concerns to Trump during a phone call and reminded him that the Geneva Conventions require the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds, the spokesman added.

Merkel’s sentiments were echoed in Paris and London; “Terrorism knows no nationality. Discrimination is no response,” said French Foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, while his British counterpart Boris Johnson tweeted: “Divisive and wrong to stigmatize because of nationality.”

Along with Syria, the U.S. ban of at least 90 days affects travelers with passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, including those with dual nationality that includes one of those countries.

Trump said his order, which indefinitely bans refugees from Syria, was “not a Muslim ban”, though he added he would seek to prioritize Christian refugees fleeing the country.

The Arab League – whose members include many of the countries included in the ban as well as allies of Washington such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan – expressed deep concern and said the restrictions were unjustified.

The government in Iraq, which is allied with Washington in the battle against ultra-hardline Islamist group Islamic State and hosts over 5,000 U.S. troops, did not comment on the executive order.

But some members of its parliament said Baghdad should retaliate with similar measures against the United States.

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