The United Arab Emirates comes to the defence of Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban” temporarily restricting nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdallah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said the majority of Muslims are still free to travel to the US and despite it affecting seven Muslim-majority countries, it is
. The Sheikh Abdallah, whose country is a close ally of Washington, said it was ‘wrong to say’ that the decision by the new US administration was ‘directed against a particular religion’. In a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, Sheikh Abdallah said that the United States has made “a sovereign decision.” Sheikh Abdullah also said that some of the countries on the “Muslim ban” had ‘structural challenges’ on the security front that they still had to overcome. According to the White House, Trump called Saudi King Salman and UAE Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and agreed with both on cooperating to fight “radical Islamic terrorism.” The UAE is one of the United States’ closest allies in the Middle East. It is part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Daesh and hosts American troops and warplanes taking part in the anti- Daesh campaign. It is also home to a centre backed by the U.S. that aims to counter extremist propaganda online. Many have criticized the UAE’s recent deportation of Lebanese Shias accused of being connected with Hezbollah, who are recognized as a terrorist organization by both the UAE and the USA. There were rumors that more countries would be added to the list. Among them, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. However, there were no reliable sources to confirm these claims.