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#NoMuslimBanEver: US government lawyer says Islam 'a great country'

The US Supreme Court is currently reviewing the travel ban case [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 April, 2018

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The attorney defending Trump's travel ban at the Supreme Court on Wednesday confused religion and geography in his closing statement.
President Donald Trump's travel ban affecting several Muslim-majority countries was under scrutiny on Wednesday as it faced its biggest legal test.

The spotlight was on the US Supreme Court with its nine members debating whether the ban was constitutional.

Under that pressure, the US administration's attorney defending the ban could possibly be forgiven for his blunder - when he called Islam a country. 

In his closing statement, Solicitor General Noel Francisco, attempted to justify the ban, which prohibits travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Chad, North Korea and a selection of Venezuelan officials from entering the US, by saying Trump had adopted a more moderate stance since his presidential campaign in which he made a number of anti-Muslim comments.

"[Trump] made it crystal clear on September 25th that he had no intention of imposing the Muslim ban," Francisco argued. "He has made crystal clear that Muslims in this country are great Americans, and there are many, many Muslims countries who love this country, and he has praised Islam as one of the great countries of the world."

But was it a slip of the tongue or religious illiteracy?

Opponents of the ban, who call it racist and say it has led to a surge in Islamophobic attacks in America, said the gaffe was proof of the US administration's ignorance.

While signing the order days after his January 2017 inauguration, Trump said the goal of the travel ban was to "keep radical Islamic terrorists out". 

"We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people," the president added.

But the order has been widely slammed by international and national rights groups since it was first implemented last year.

The court is expected to review the case over the next two months before ruling in late June.

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