World Bulletin / News Desk
A veiled National Security Council staffer said Thursday she left the new U.S. administration due to President Donald Trump's travel ban that many have criticized for unfairly targeting her religious community.
After feeling "welcome and included" by the Obama administration, Rumana Ahmed said she wanted to stay on in the administration "to give the new president and his aides a more nuanced view of Islam". But she lasted just eight days on Trump's National Security Council.
"When Trump issued a ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries and all Syrian refugees, I knew I could no longer stay and work for an administration that saw me and people like me not as fellow citizens, but as a threat," she wrote in an op-ed for the Atlantic magazine.
Ahmed said she told Trump’s senior council communications adviser, Michael Anton, of her rationale for leaving, only to be met with silence.
"It was only later that I learned he authored an essay under a pseudonym, extolling the virtues of authoritarianism and attacking diversity as a 'weakness,' and Islam as 'incompatible with the modern West'”, she wrote.
Ahmed said she was the only veiled Muslim woman working at the White House at the time of her departure.
Ahmed, whose parents immigrated from Bangladesh in 1978, said Trump's ongoing rhetoric and policies affecting Muslims, and inclusion of far-right officials in his administration, are feeding into the narratives that groups like Daesh hope to spread.
"The Administration’s plans to revamp the Countering Violent Extremism program to focus solely on Muslims and use terms like 'radical Islamic terror,' legitimize ISIS propaganda and allow the dangerous rise of white-supremacist extremism to go unchecked," she said, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
"Placing U.S. national security in the hands of people who think America’s diversity is a ‘weakness’ is dangerous. It is false," she added.
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