Syrian refugees question Donald Trump's visa ban on Q&A

Syrian refugees Saad (right) and Omar (left) have criticised President Donald Trump's controversial visa ban on Monday night's episode of Q&A
  • Two over-achieving Syrian refugees have questioned Donald Trump's visa ban
  • Saad Al-Kassab and his older brother Omar appeared on ABC's Q&A on Monday
  • Saad made headlines after getting 96.65 ATAR just two years after fleeing Syria
  • Omar asked: 'why would someone ban people like us from being citizens?'

Two refugees who fled war-torn Syria to start a new life in Australia with their family have questioned President Donald Trump's controversial visa ban.

Saad Al-Kassab, 19, made headlines when he scored an ATAR of 96.65 and became dux of his Melbourne high school, despite only learning English two years ago. 

Joined by his older brother Omar - who is halfway through a business degree at university - the pair were in the audience for Monday night's episode of Q&A.

Referencing his brother's achievements amidst immense suffering, Omar asked the panel: 'Why would someone ban people like us from being citizens of its country?'

 Pro-Trump political analyst and writer Helen Andrews defended the ban and claimed it was only a temporary 90-day suspension to allow the US government time to fix vetting standards

Pro-Trump political analyst and writer Helen Andrews defended the ban and claimed it was only a temporary 90-day suspension to allow the US government time to fix vetting standards

'During the Arab Spring, when marching for democracy and freedom I was shot, tortured by the Syrian regime and forced to flee with family,' Omar began.

'Australia has given us a new life and with only two years of learning English, my brother recently graduated as the dux of his school and is hoping to be a doctor. I’m also half way through my business degree. '

Pro-Trump political analyst and writer Helen Andrews was first to respond to the question, pointing out that the controversial travel ban was only for 90 days.

'Yes (there is a ban), for a period of 90 days, At this point it's extremely inaccurate to talk about a ban on anything,' she replied.

'The Trump administration wants to put in place a new system of vetting for its refugee population. And it's going to take 90 days to put that together.'

'So right now, we're only talking about a suspension, no-body is keeping anybody out permanently.'

But Omar was quick to interject, pointing out that the ban on Syrians travelling to the United States was in fact 'indefinite' - not a 'suspension'.

'So the Syrian ban is indefinite, it's 90 days for everyone except the Syrian ban is an indefinite ban,' he said, to the applause of the mixed political bias crowd.

Omar was quick to correct Ms Andrews on her assertion that the travel ban was only in place for 90 days, explaining that the ban was 'indefinite' for all Syrians

Omar was quick to correct Ms Andrews on her assertion that the travel ban was only in place for 90 days, explaining that the ban was 'indefinite' for all Syrians

Saad Al-Kassab, 19, made headlines when he scored an ATAR of 96.65 and became dux of his Melbourne high school, despite only learning English two years ago

Saad Al-Kassab, 19, made headlines when he scored an ATAR of 96.65 and became dux of his Melbourne high school, despite only learning English two years ago

Ms Andrews stumbled on her words briefly before pointing out that the United States could only take 50,000 of the five million displaced people and had a responsibility to focus largely on people 'who are oppressed religious minorities.'

Saad and Omar taught themselves how to speak English by watching 'Question Time' in Federal Parliament and using their father's battered English-Arab dictionary 

Saad and Omar taught themselves how to speak English by watching 'Question Time' in Federal Parliament and using their father's battered English-Arab dictionary

Saad and Omar taught themselves how to speak English by watching 'Question Time' in Federal Parliament and using their father's battered English-Arab dictionary

Last week Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed that Australia would support Donald Trump's controversial visa ban and tough border control policies. 

Ms Bishop said Australia would stand by the president's executive order - despite backlash from the United Kingdom, Canada and a number of countries in Europe.

The executive order bans all citizens and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for the next 90 and 120 days respectively.

'I'm confident that the Australian government and the U.S. government will continue to support each other in ensuring that we can implement our strong immigration and border protection policies,' Ms Bishop said in Los Angeles.

The ban prevents citizens from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States.  

 Last week Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed that Australia would support Donald Trump's controversial visa ban and tough border control policies

Last week Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed that Australia would support Donald Trump's controversial visa ban and tough border control policies

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By Shedrack Mittens 02/06/2017 03:52:00
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