The Emir of Kuwait and President Donald Trump. (CC-BY 3.0 Unported) (Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

President Trump appears to have fallen into the fake-news trap, despite his repeated denouncements of the “dishonest media.”

On Feb. 2, Trump shared an article on Facebook that claimed Kuwait mirrored his executive order barring entry of travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries. Soon, reports surfaced refuting the story.

The article that Trump touted, titled “Kuwait issues its own Trump-esque visa ban for five Muslim-majority countries,” cites “reports” and “Kuwaiti sources” in its claim that “Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, Pakistanis and Afghans will not be able to obtain visit, tourism or trade Kuwaiti visas” following what many consider as the U.S. president’s “Muslim ban.”

Al Bawaba wrote:

Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, Pakistanis and Afghans were not allowed to obtain visit, tourism or trade visas to Kuwait in 2011, in a move which pre-empted US restrictions on seven Muslim-majority countries.

Passport holders from the countries were not allowed to enter the Gulf state while the blanket ban was in place, and had been told not to apply to visas.

Kuwaiti sources originally told local media at the time that the restrictions were in place due to the “instability” in the five countries and that the ban would be lifted once the security situation improves.

A Kuwaiti official has since denied the claim. The foreign ministry “categorically denies these claims and affirms that these reported nationalities … have big communities in Kuwait and enjoy full rights,” a ministry spokesperson told the Kuwait News Agency. “The State of Kuwait believed that granting of visa is a sovereign matter, and is not linked to terrorism or violence or nationality or faith.”

Indian news site InUth verified the denial in an interview with a Pakistan embassy official in Kuwait. “There has been free movement of citizens between the Pakistan and Kuwait for the last 10 years,” the official said. “There is no truth in the reports that Kuwait has banned our citizens (from entering the country).”

Al Bawaba, the site that posted the article that remains on Trump’s page, “combines the most substantive content licensing system in the Arab World with a unique and growing news community, cutting edge technology and first rate journalism,” according to its website. The article originated from Al Bawaba’s syndication service, which “licenses multi-lingual content in electronic format from 1,100+ publishers and creators of text, photo, video, music, games and mobile applications.”

Some news sites have issued retractions since reporting on Kuwait’s supposed ban. Russian news outlet Sputnik edited its article titled “Kuwait Imposes Visa Ban on Five Muslim-Majority Countries” with the note:

Correction: the following news article proved to be untrue. As Ghulam Dastagir, Pakistan’s ambassador in Kuwait said on Wednesday, this rumor first appeared in 2011. Mr. Dastagir clarified that Kuwait hasn’t placed any visa ban on Pakistani nationals. No contrary statements have been issued by representatives of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran.

Right-wing website Breitbart has not corrected its report, which states that Pakistan has denied the news but does not include the fact that the Kuwait foreign ministry refuted claims of a visa ban. Infowars also has not updated its piece, though its source, the Economic Times of India, issued a retraction.

Posted by KiMi Robinson

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