Khartoum — Ms. Shadia al-Haj Yousif (65) could possibly be the first Sudanese who had managed to make it through Dallas Airport after U.S President Donald Trump's tempestuous decision denying entry to his country for citizens from seven majority Moslem states, including Sudan.
Her niece Fatima Abulgasim said her aunt arrived at Dallas on 30 January to visit her sons and her grandchildren who all of them carry American passports.
But Shadia and several other passengers carrying passports of countries covered by the President's executive order were barred from getting in and ordered to leave back home the next day. Here members of the Sudanese community in Dallas, nationals of other countries and more than 50 lawyers from the U.S and other nationalities staged a protest at the airport, carrying placards and chanting condemnations of the ban for several hours. They then stormed the airport lounge, a matter that obliged the airport authorities to convene an emergency meeting after which the passengers were allowed in, based on the decision of the now sacked U.S deputy justice minister.
But Fatima herself had returned empty handed from the Doha Airport, Qatar, where she was supposed to take the trip to Los Angeles, regardless of the tourist visa she had.
"I will never travel to the U.S again, whatever the situation. I had visited nearly most of the World countries, but I had never seen such a shocking situation, and from whom? From a country known for observing human rights!" said Fatima.
"My Khartoum home neighbors a housing compound of the U.S Embassy. I had obtained the U.S entry visa with utmost ease. The U.S Consul, Ms. Caren, was an intimate friend of mine and had helped me bring up my son. So how can I be accused of terrorism?", she wondered.
Fatima said 40 other passengers (Sudanese, Syrians and Iranians) were taken by surprise when an official of Qatar Airways notified them they were banned from entering the U.S.
"It was a shock for all of us. Among us was a businessman carrying a visa to attend an economic conference. There was also an employee of the U.S Embassy in Khartoum heading for a training course in the U.S. I was with my Aunt Shadia who carried an American passport and was intending to visit her son who was under intensive medical care in the U.S. After much ado, my aunt was allowed to board the plane. She was the only one of this group to be allowed to leave for Dallas where she was barred from entry for sometime," Fatima further elaborated.
Fatima said this was going to be her last visit to the U.S ."The first time I stayed there for two months visiting my brother Dr. Amin Abulgasim al-Gash, who carries an America passport, who is one of the most outstanding medical doctors in Dallas and who has been living in the U.S for 20 years now," she said.
"In addition to the agony we passed through, we also suffered material damage. We had to pay for our return ticket to Khartoum the same day on board Qatar Airways. That was a financial loss not easy to compensate. Who is going to pay us for that ?," she asked.
She said at the airport she was interviewed on a live program by the al-Arabiyya T.V. "I expressed my dismay towards President Trump's conduct. Passengers carrying valid entry visas should have been exempted from that order. How come it for the U.S, the guardian of democracy, allow itself to waste our money in that way after it had granted us entry visas?" she further wondered.
When issuing the executive order banning citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Syria from entering the U.S for 90 days, President Trump had said he was after protecting his country from terrorist attacks.
President Trump's decision came a few days after former President Barak Obama issued a conditional order lifting economic sanctions on Sudan for six months, pending further consideration.
Obama's order was met with joy and satisfaction from official and popular circles in Sudan.
Trump's decision has wreaked havoc in U.S airports and airports around the world. Thousands of Muslims crammed at airports around the globe, triggering a state of chaos. U.S rights groups and lawyers stood up to the measure, succeeding in many cases to ease stranded passengers into the U.S.
The Sudanese Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S Charge d'affaires and expressed Sudan's regret over this treatment of its citizens.
The Iraqi parliament had urged Baghdad for a tit-for-tat decision. The Government of Iran made a similar announcement.
The Arab League has urged Washington to back from the decision. Indonesia has maintained that the decision could reflect negatively on the fight against terrorism. German Chancellor Merkel considered the decision unjustified. British Prime Minister Teresa May said she would not approve the measure. Former U.S President Barak Obama backed demonstrations against the decision. Several American courts rejected the ban. So did some U.S technological firms including Google, Facebook, Tweeter and Apple.