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Refugee ban forces Iraqi archbishop to cancel visit to the US

The Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil was forced to cancel his trip (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

An Iraqi archbishop has been forced to postpone a scheduled visit to America following President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on citizens from several Muslim countries travelling to the US.

Mgr John Kozar, president of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, was due to receive a visit from Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Iraq, in order to discuss the persecution of Iraqi Christians.

However, according to the newspaper Catholic New York, Mgr Kozar has been informed by the archbishop that the trip will have to be postponed.

Mgr Kozar said: “I’m planning a visit to Iraq in March to continue to demonstrate the solidarity we have and to show them we haven’t abandoned them and assure them that they are not forgotten. But I don’t know — will I be permitted to enter that country? As we have stopped the flow from these listed nations, some of them are doing the same in kind.”

The archbishop was due to visit Washington DC and New York and was originally invited by New Jersey politician, Chris Smith.