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Muslim Writers Wanted: Lit Agents Make Open Call

Trump’s travel ban ”deeply shocked and saddened all of us“

As the battle over Donald Trump’s travel ban continues in the courts, literary agents have come together from several different agencies to put out an open call for submissions from Muslim writers.

“We all agree that the current political climate demands a need for a greater presence of authors of Muslim heritage in the book marketplace,” the agents said in a recent statement. “We are taking action to help make that happen.”

The coalition includes agents that represent a wide variety of genres, from children and YA books to commercial fiction to even thrillers and sci-fi.

“The events following Trump’s executive order on January 27, 2017, deeply shocked and saddened all of us,” the statement read. “The messages of fear and discrimination against Muslims within this country and to those outside its borders are not ones that reflect our own beliefs and understanding.”

Trump’s travel ban prevents citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia — from entering the country for 90 days while the Department of Homeland Security revises its customs policies. The ban was suspended by District Court Judge James Robart last weekend and is currently being reviewed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The travel ban has made waves in Hollywood, as it has left a direct impact on two foreign films that have been nominated for Academy Awards. “The White Helmets,” a Best Short Documentary nominee that follows rescue teams in Syria, was largely filmed by members of the rescue teams themselves because the film’s production crew could not enter major bombing sites like Aleppo for safety reasons. Those rescuers will not be able to attend the Oscars because of the travel ban. Neither will Asghar Farhadi, an Iranian filmmaker whose drama, “The Salesman,” has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.