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Donald Trump’s immigration ban excludes Muslim countries where he does business

The White House has avoided angering some more powerful and wealthy Muslim majority allies such as Egypt.

world Updated: Jan 29, 2017 14:37 IST
Immigration ban

Immigrant rights advocates demonstrate against President-elect Donald Trump's immigration policies, in Washington.(AP photo)

Several Muslim majority nations where the Trump Organisation is active and which in some cases have faced troublesome issues with terrorism, do not figure in the list of the countries whose citizens were banned from entering the US.

Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen which are targeted by US President Donald Trump in his executive order on Friday, are the nations where he does not have any business interests, a report in the Washington Post said.

The “extreme vetting” bars all entry by travellers from these countries for the next 90 days.

The White House has avoided angering some more powerful and wealthy Muslim majority allies such as Egypt.

The new President is facing questions whether he designed the new rules with his own business in mind.

“He needs to sell his businesses outside his family and place the assets in a blind trust, otherwise every decision he makes people will question if he’s doing it in the interests of the American people or his own bottom line,” said Jordan Libowitz, the spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal watchdog group.

The group has filed a lawsuit arguing that Trump is already in violation of a constitutional provision barring federal officials from accepting payments from foreign officials.

Earlier in the week, Norm Eisen, the group’s chairman and a former ethics adviser to former President Barack Obama, tweeted: “Warning: President your Muslim ban excludes countries where you have business interests. That is a ­Constitutional violation. See u in court.”

Stephanie Grisham, a White House spokeswoman, said: “The high-risk territories are based on Congressional statute and ­nothing else.”

In pics: US airports become scene of anguish after Trump’s Muslim travel ban

Trump has handed over management of his real estate, licensing and merchandising business to his sons to avoid the perception that he is making presidential decisions to boost his own business.

According to the Washington Post, Trump has retained ownership of the ­company, meaning if it thrives during his presidency, he will profit.

The President’s order makes no mention of Turkey, which has faced several terrorist attacks in recent months.

The state department on Wednesday updated a travel warning for Americans visiting Turkey, noting that “an increase in anti-American rhetoric has the potential to inspire independent actors to carry out acts of violence against US citizens”.

Trump has licensed his name to two luxury towers in Istanbul. A Turkish company also manufactures a line of Trump-branded home furnishings.

“I have a little conflict of ­interest ‘cause I have a major, major building in Istanbul’,” he had said in December, 2015.

Also untouched by Friday’s ­executive order is the UAE, a powerful Muslim ally with whom the US ­has complicated ­relations.

Trump has licensed his name to a Dubai golf resort as well as a luxury home ­development and spa.

Its ­developer, Hussain Sajwani, attended a New Year’s eve party at Trump’s Florida estate Mar-a-Lago, where a video showed the then President-elect singling him out for praise, calling him and his family “the most beautiful people”.