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Will welcome those fleeing terror, war regardless of their faith: Canadian PM

Sunday January 29, 2017 12:29 PM, IANS

Ottawa: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has extended his country's welcome to refugees after US President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning people from seven countries from entering the US.

"To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength," Trudeau tweeted on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported.

He followed it up by tweeting a photo of himself greeting a young Syrian refugee.

Trump on Friday signed an executive order which prohibits citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Libya from entering the US in the coming three months, and also bans refugees from Syria indefinitely.

Trump said the order would help protect Americans from terrorist attacks.

Canada was caught up in the executive order because of some Canadian dual citizens.

The Canadian government didn't immediately offer any direct comment after the US State Department confirmed that dual citizens of the affected countries would not be allowed to enter the US over the next several months.

Bijan Ahmadi, president of the Iranian Canadian Congress, said he's outraged by the new policy.

"It's unacceptable. It's very unreasonable," he said. "It's very discriminatory to target people based on their race, their religion, the country of their origin and the country of their birth. And the community has that same outrage."

Canada's WestJet Airlines said it turned back a passenger bound for the US on Saturday in order to comply with the Trump executive order, adding that it will give full refunds to anyone affected by the US executive order, according to Canada TV Saturday.

WestJet has been informed by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that the ban did not apply to dual citizens who had passports from countries other than those covered by the ban against the seven countries.

"US CBP has confirmed it is the citizenship document they present to enter the country, not the country of where they were born," the TV quoted a spokesperson of WestJet as saying.

Air Canada, the country's other major airline, said it was complying with the order but did not comment on whether it had yet denied travel to any passengers.

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