BAGHDAD/CAIRO - A global backlash against US President Donald Trump's immigration curbs gathered strength on Sunday as several countries including long-standing American allies criticized the measures as discriminatory and divisive.
Governments from London and Berlin to Jakarta and Tehran spoke out against Trump's order to put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily ban travellers from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries. He said the move would help protect Americans from terrorism.
In Germany - which has taken in large numbers of people fleeing the Syrian civil war - Chancellor Angela Merkel said the global fight against terrorism was no excuse for the measures and "does not justify putting people of a specific background or faith under general suspicion," her spokesman said.
She expressed her concerns to Trump during a phone call and reminded him that the Geneva Conventions require the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds, the spokesman added.
Merkel's sentiments were echoed in Paris and London; "Terrorism knows no nationality. Discrimination is no response," said French Foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, while his British counterpart Boris Johnson tweeted: "Divisive and wrong to stigmatise because of nationality."
Along with Syria, the US ban of at least 90 days affects travellers with passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, including those with dual nationality that includes one of those countries.
Trump said his order, which indefinitely bans refugees from Syria, was "not a Muslim ban", though he added he would seek to prioritize Christian refugees fleeing the country.
Washington's Arab allies, including the Gulf states and Egypt, were mostly silent.
The government in Iraq, which is allied with Washington in the battle against ultra-hardline Islamist group Islamic State and hosts over 5,000 US troops, also did not comment on the executive order.
But some members of the parliament said Iraq should retaliate with similar measures against the United States.