Bangladesh-origin US entrepreneur feels heat of Trump's Muslim ban

Prothom Alo English | Update:


Shafqat Islam, Bangladeshi immigrant and cofounder of NewsCred, is concerned that Muslim-majority Bangladesh could be included into US president Donald Trump's black list of seven countries, according to Forbes.

“My family didn’t want me to come because you don’t know what’s going to happen in the next four days,” the 35-year-old Shafqat said from Paris when he was reached by the magazine  over phone.

However, Trump's ban remains suspended for now due to court orders.

He is one of many immigrants who formed companies in the United States.

Analysing census data by economists Robert W Fairlie and Magnus Lofstrom, the magazine said immigrants accounted for 18 per cent of all self-employed people in 2014, up from 7 per cent in 1980.

NewsCred, a content-marketing company, has reportedly raised $90 million in venture capital, and employs 200 people in the US, the UK and Bangladesh.

His is a company which has around 20 per cent of the 140 employees in the headquarters, New York, from immigrants with work visas or green cards, reports Forbes.

"We’re not just a company that was founded by immigrants, we employ a lot of immigrants, and in some ways we exist because of immigration," Shafqat was quoted to have said. "We have a pretty strong stance at our company: We are a pro-immigration company."

The company has organised its own working group, and, in response to Trump’s ban, its legal team went to JFK airport to support those people who were detained, the report said. Many employees were said to have attended protests, and donated to the ACLU and other organisations.

"Islam worries that the seven-country list could be expanded to include Bangladesh, which is also a majority Muslim country," wrote Forbes.

It said employees now travel easily between offices in the three countries, and he's previously transferred and promoted Bangladeshi employees to the US headquarters.

But, Forbes reports, his real concern is ethics and fairness. “If the list gets expanded to more countries, and Bangladesh gets added, it would have a devastating impact on us.”

“But while it certainly has a business impact, that is secondary. It is the moral question we are facing.”

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