Local Muslims seek name change to avoid retaliation

Immigration Ban.JPG

SAN ANTONIO - Some Muslims in San Antonio are changing their names in the wake of President Trump's Immigration Ban.

The executive orders temporarily ban people in seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

"Which is very unfortunate right, people are looking to change their identity to escape what is happening," said attorney Juanita Pelaez-Prada.

America's major airports have been the backdrop of widespread protests against President Donald Trump's new immigration policies.

Friday's exectutive order blocks entry into the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries.

It's a temporary ban, but opponents fear this is only the beginning.

"We're getting phone calls, and emails, and social media messages," said Chaplain Mustafa Safak.

Mustafa Safak is Chaplain at San Antonio's Turkish Community Center.

He says members of the local Muslim community are afraid of what could happen next.

"Because they are majority Muslim countries and of course there's some fear that Turkey could be added to the list so therefore we're concerned, we're concerned as well."

"Right now we have his orders with not much detail which is a very scary thing because we just don't know what to expect," Pelaez-Prada said.

Attorney Juanita Pelaez-Prada has received a number of calls at her law office from Muslim clients who want to change their name.

"They're trying to shorten it or make it sound somewhat more Americanized, maybe adding a 'Y' dropping an 'I,' Pelaez-Prada said."

The fact that they're willing to change their identity to avoid being targeted speaks to their level of fear of physical retaliation and in some cases loss of business.

"Your name is attached to your identity, your culture, your heritage therefore it would be devastating for people to even think about that," Safak said.

"I've asked them to really think about what they're doing really think about this because it's a big decision right but they're scared," Pelaez-Prada said.

Pelaez-Prada has talked to six clients about changing their name.

She’s already helped one couple through the legal process.

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