- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

President Trump’s executive order on immigration and temporary ban on visas for some Muslim-majority countries is meeting with rising condemnation from leaders in Europe, Africa and the Islamic world.

While far-right nationalists in Europe are heaping praise on Mr. Trump for the executive order signed Friday, leaders of the European Union and the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation warned that it will be counterproductive and provide a propaganda boost for the terrorists it targets.

The OIC, the largest grouping of Muslim nations, said in a statement on its website Tuesday that the temporary ban will “embolden the radical narratives of extremists.”

“[It] will provide further fuel to the advocates of violence and terrorism at a critical time when the OIC has been engaged with all partners, including the U.S., to combat extremism and terrorism,” the organization said.

The leader of the European Union said the U.S. restrictions mark the opening of a unpredictable era in U.S. foreign policy.

In a remarkable letter to the bloc’s 27 members, EU President Donald Tusk went so far as to describe the U.S. under the Trump administration as an “external threat” to Europe’s stability on par with Russia, China, radical Islam and terrorism.

Mr. Trump appears to have “put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy,” Mr. Tusk wrote.

“We cannot surrender to those who want to weaken or invalidate the trans-Atlantic bond, without which global order and peace cannot survive,” the former Polish prime minister wrote. “We should remind our American friends of their own motto: United we stand, divided we fall.”

Top officials in Britain, France, Sweden and Germany have publicly criticized Mr. Trump’s order.

The executive order “only aims at exacerbating tensions, creating potential conflicts” and “in the end, the greatest inefficiency regarding results in the fight against terrorism,” French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

The head of the 54-member African Union echoed the sentiment, asserting in a speech Monday that Mr. Trump has signaled the start of “very turbulent times” on the continent.

“The very country to which many of our people were taken as slaves during the trans-Atlantic slave trade has now decided to ban refugees from some of our countries,” Commission Chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa told a summit of AU leaders meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The administration says the curbs are temporary and are necessary to keep terrorists from reaching the U.S.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer dismissed the international criticism by telling reporters that inaccurate reporting from American news organizations are fueling panic about what Mr. Trump’s executive order does and does not do.

“When we use words like ‘travel ban,’ that misrepresents what it is,” Mr. Spicer said. “It’s seven countries previously identified by the Obama administration, where frankly we don’t get the information that we need for people coming into this country.”

“This isn’t about refugees,” he said. “It’s about travelers. … And people are actually stopping, reading the order and realizing, ‘Oh, that’s it?’”

Mr. Trump’s order does impose a 120-day suspension on refugee admissions to the U.S. from all parts of the world and blocks Syrian refugees indefinitely. It halts visas to people from Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Sudan for 90 days.

Germany’s far-right National Democratic Party has celebrated the ban. “For the first time ever, one can say from a nationalist perspective: keep going, USA,” the party wrote on its official Facebook page. France’s Marine Le Pen, a top far-right contender for the presidency, has also praised the ban.

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