A federal judge in Hawaii has halted President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
This came after judge Derrick Watson heard a case brought forth by the state of Hawaii and by Ismail Elshikh. The plaintiffs’ lawyers argued that Trump’s executive order suspending immigration from six Muslim-majority countries violates the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.
Here’s what you need to know about Ismail Elshikh, plaintiff in Hawaii’s lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
1. He is the Imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii
Ismail Elshikh is the Imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii. This organization is located in Manoa, Honolulu, and it consists of approximately 4,000 Muslims from the state, according to the group’s website.
In early February, the Muslim Association of Hawaii and several other groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, held a press conference on the steps of the Honolulu Federal Building speaking about the rights of immigrants and refugees in light of President Donald Trump’s recent travel ban.
“The reason immigrants have sought refuge and a home in the United States, and what binds us together in our own diversity, is our shared commitment to treat each other equally under the law regardless of creed, color, background, or birthplace,” an ACLU press release said. “Diversity and these shared commitments not only define who we are, but also make us stronger and unique among other countries. The executive orders are a direct attack against these shared commitments, seeking to divide us and ultimately, making us weaker. Together, we must stand firm and defend the values that define who we are as a community, state, and country.”
2. He is of Egyptian Descent
According to his personal website, Ismail Elshikh is 39 years old, and he is of Egyptian descent.
Elshihk studied Islamic Dawah at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. From 1987 through 1997, he taught the Quran at the Muslim Family Association in Cairo, and he was also an imam at the Almuntasir Mosque in Cairo.
Elshihk’s primary language is Arabic, and his secondary language is English. In addition to being an imam at the Muslim Association of Hawaii, he is also a visiting professor of Islamic studies at the Islamic University of Minnesota.
3. He Lives in Honolulu With His Wife and Kids & Is a Legal Permanent Resident
Elshikh currently resides in Honolulu, Hawaii with his wife and kids, according to his website.
He holds a green card, which means he is a legal permanent resident of the United States. Egypt is not one of the countries that is covered by either of President Donald Trump’s travel bans, but if it were, Elshikh would be exempt because he is a legal permanent U.S. resident.
When the original travel ban was signed at the end of January, there was initially some confusion about whether it applied to green card holders, but the new ban makes very clear that it does not.
4. His Mother-in-Law is From Syria & Would Have Been Affected by the Travel Ban
According to the Star Advertiser, although Elshikh himself is not directly affected by the travel ban, his mother-in-law is.
Elshikh’s mother-in-law is Syrian, and Syria is one of the countries included on both of the president’s travel bans. Elshikh says that his mother-in-law was in the middle of her visa application process and that this executive order will mean she will not be able to visit her family in Hawaii.
Under the revised order signed on Monday, any foreign nationals who have a valid U.S. visa as of March 16th, 2017 will be exempt from the travel restrictions. However, foreign nationals who do not have a visa by March 16th will not be able to obtain one for at least three months.
5. He Joined the Case in February
Ismail Elshikh was added as a plaintiff to the Trump travel ban case after the lawsuit had already been filed.
On February 14th, Elshikh became a plaintiff in the lawsuit; the suit was on hold at the time but the hold was temporarily lifted so that Elshikh could join the case. At the same time, a new count was added, with Hawaii saying that the travel ban violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, according to Hawaii News Now.
After President Donald Trump signed his revised travel ban this week, Hawaii sought to amend and resume its lawsuit, and on March 8th, a U.S. district judge granted that request.