The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) says President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Milley warns of 'Sputnik moment' for China WSJ publishes letter from Trump continuing to allege voter fraud in PA Oath Keeper who was at Capitol on Jan. 6 runs for New Jersey State Assembly MORE’s ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations is not targeted at Islam.
While the ban applies to several Middle Eastern countries, it doesn't apply to UAE citizens.
“There are attempts to give the impression that this decision is directed against a particular religion, but what proves this talk to be incorrect first is what the U.S. administration itself says ... that this decision is not directed at a certain religion.”
Zayed al-Nahyan was addressing a joint event with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov when he made the remarks, according to Al Jazeera.
Zayed al-Nahyan said Trump’s executive order last week does not include most Muslims or Muslim countries.
The UAE official added nations affected by the measure have “challenges” that need addressing.
Trump’s executive order Friday
The measure also froze general refugee admissions into the U.S. for 120 days, along with an indefinite pause for Syrian refugees.
The UAE has had contentious relations with some of the nations on Trump's ban list. Emirati troops intervened in Yemen's civil war in 2015 as part of an Arab coalition, while the UAE is part of a Sunni regional bloc that opposes the Shia alliance that includes Syria's government and Iran.
The UAE is a predominantly Muslim nation and longstanding U.S. ally. Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were other Arab states untouched by Trump’s decision.
Aside from Qatar, states in the region have voiced little concern over Trump’s measure, according to Reuters.
“When it comes to be addressed in a Muslim framework, I think this is something we will stand against,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani said during a recent visit to Serbia.
Global debate is raging over Trump’s order, which Democrats and human rights organizations argue is unconstitutional and biased against Muslims.
Trump has dismissed such criticisms, however, calling it necessary to protect the U.S. from terrorism.