Funeral held for toddler at centre of Muslim Ban

Funeral held for Yemeni-American toddler at centre of Trump's Muslim Ban
2 min read
30 December, 2018
Two-year-old Abdullah Hassan - the toddler at the centre of a row over the United States' travel ban - was buried at a cemetery in California on Saturday.
Two-year-old Abdullah Hassan died on Friday in Oakland, California [AP]

Mourners gathered at a mosque in California bid farewell on Saturday to a two-year-old boy whose Yemeni mother fought a successful legal battle against President Donald Trump administration's travel ban to reunite with her dying son in the US.

Abdullah Hassan died on Friday at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland, where his father had brought him earlier this year to get treatment for a genetic brain disorder, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said.

In accordance with Muslim tradition, the body was buried within 72 hours of death.

Ali Hassan, the boy's father, and others prayed Saturday at a funeral for Abdullah at a mosque in the farming town of Lodi.

Hassan told those gathered that his son had not died in vain and expressed hope that their struggle will lead to a change in US policy that will help other families reunite.

Abdullah's mother, Shaima Swileh, was previously prevented from seeing her dying son due to travel restrictions imposed by the Trump administration.

Citizens from Yemen and four other mostly Muslim countries, along with North Korea and Venezuela, are restricted from coming to the US under President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban.

Swileh remained in Egypt while fighting for a visa waiver.

As the couple fought for a waiver, doctors put Abdullah on life support.

"Hopefully, when people see this case, and the support gathers around these countries and these communities that are impacted, hopefully they're going to have a chance to be reunited with their families as well," said Saad Sweilem, a lawyer with the council who represents the family.

Abdullah's father began losing hope prior to his son's death considered pulling him off life support while his wife remained in Egypt.

But then a hospital social worker reached out to the CAIR, which sued the Trump administration on December 16, said Basim Elkarra, executive director of the group in Sacramento.

The State Department granted Swileh a waiver the next day.

Three days later she was able to hold her dying son for the first time in hospital.