Windsor

Trump's travel ban leads to border fears for Muslims in Windsor, Ont.

Muslims in Windsor are worried about how U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban on seven Muslim countries could affect them.

"My Canadian passport means everything to me right now"

As a Muslim, Remy Boulbol is worried about going to work in America after U.S. President Donald Trump issued a travel ban to those coming from seven Muslim-majority countries. (Jason Viau/CBC)

Crossing the border for work Monday morning brought worry and angst for some Muslims living in Windsor.

Even though the federal government assures Canadians with permanent residency will not be banned, Remy Boulbol said she was not looking forward to the commute.

Despite being a dual citizen of both the United States and Canada, Boulbol is on edge. She didn't know what questions border guards might ask or how she would be treated as a Muslim, so she left earlier than normal to ensure she got to her job in Detroit on time.

We're also scared... scared for what? For an extra piece of fabric we have, for the name we decide to call God.- Remy Boulbol

"It makes me angry. A lot of people are angry and we're also scared," Boulbol said. "Scared for what? For an extra piece of fabric we have, for the name we decide to call God. For what?"

"It's such a travesty we're being blamed for absolutely nothing," she added, explaining that she made it across the border, but had to show three documents to prove she was able to work in the U.S

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday and issued a three-month ban for people coming from seven Muslim-majority countries -- Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Libya.

"My Canadian passport means everything to me right now," said Boulbol.

"For us to go backwards in time like this makes me sick to my stomach. That this is the world that I'm raising my daughters in, trying to show them that not everybody is not like this," she said. "To believe that ... is becoming increasingly difficult."

Canadian Muslims warned to avoid U.S. travel

The Windsor Islamic Council is urging Muslims to stay in Canada, unless they must travel to the U.S.

Windsor Islamic Council chairperson Maher El-Masri said Trump's travel ban plays into the hands of extremists. (Jason Viau/CBC)

"If they are put into the system as banned, they will never be out of that system until they seek an individual waiver in the future," said Maher El-Masri, chairperson of the Windsor Islamic Council.

"I don't think it's right to ban a whole entire group of people based on country or religion."

El-Masri believes Trump's policy takes a step backwards when it comes to fighting religious extremism.

"They will also play in the hands of those who are trying to exploit our religion for their narrow purposes," he said.

Students face uncertainty

Students in border cities also face uncertainty with their education. Law students at the University of Windsor penned an open letter, speaking out against the "blanket ban." It was written by two young Iranian-Canadian women.

"The idea of being targeted by American policies was unexpected ... foreign nationals do not threaten security. Fear mongering, political chaos does," the letter reads.

About 85 of those students study in both Canada and the United States. Rishi Sharma is among them. He travels to Detroit twice a week for class, and calls Trump's executive order a "divisive act."

Many of his classmates are from one of the seven countries affected.

"If we don't stand in unity with them, in solidarity with them, their voices are going to be muted," Sharma said.

His parents immigrated to Canada from India. Even though his homeland isn't on Trump's list, he's still unsure about crossing the border.

"It's not only a matter of what your passport says, it's a matter of how you look as well," Sharma said.

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