Dayton Turkish Community Center president concerned over travel ban

Ahiska Turkish American Community Center in Dayton (WDTN Photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Islom Shakhbandarov came to America as a refugee from Russia more than a decade ago.

He’s an area businessman and the president of the Ahiska Turkish American Community Center.

“We came as refugees, a group from Russia, from south part of Russia. We’ve been accepted by U.S. government and granted refugee status in 2004,” he said.

He tells 2 NEWS he’s grateful America took him in when his family needed it the most. He says refugees are the most vulnerable people in the world. Now, he’s concerned about President Donald Trump’s immigration and travel ban orders.

“It’s disappointing and it’s sad. We really have many other problems, which are real, but we’re focusing on refugees and immigrants.”

He says natives from the 7 countries President Trump banned never committed terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

“It’s outrageous an entire group of people based on their ethnicity in the United States are differentiated just cause of their religious view and ethnicity,” said Shakhbandarov.

He says his concern for the Muslim community’s safety grew two years ago during President Trump’s campaign.

“All this campaign was about immigrants, refugees and minorities,” he said.

He says while he respects the President, he hopes he will review the orders and reverse them. He says this isn’t the America he believes in and he doesn’t know how to explain it to his young son.

“He asked me, ‘Why does Trump hate us?’, he’s 7-years- old and I couldn’t answer. I think this is not about Muslims and hopefully, it’s a misunderstanding.” he said.

On Sunday, 6 people were killed at a mosque in Quebec City, Canada and a mosque in Texas was burned down. Shakhbandarov says it’s a great concern and he’s worried President Trump’s America is a breeding ground for hatred toward his people.

“We do take extra steps to protect our community. We have alarms, cameras, and we talk with city commissioners and law enforcement. I think in general, Dayton is safe because of the local people,” he said.

A rally is planned for Friday at 5 p.m. in downtown Dayton at Courthouse Square. Organizers urge people to call their state representatives about the matter.

 

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