Donald Trump 'Muslim ban': Olympic hero Mo Farah speaks out against 'deeply troubling' executive order

‘President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien,’ says Somali-born athlete who is based in US

Will Worley
Sunday 29 January 2017 13:39 GMT
The four-time Olympic champion could be affected by the ban as he is currently out of the US, training in Ethiopia
The four-time Olympic champion could be affected by the ban as he is currently out of the US, training in Ethiopia (Getty)

British Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah has spoken out against Donald Trump’s Muslim immigration ban, calling it “deeply troubling”.

Farah, who lives and trains in Portland, Oregon, said the President’s actions had made him feel like “an alien”.

An executive order was passed by Mr Trump on Friday temporarily banning travellers from seven majority-Muslim nations, including Somalia, where Mr Farah was born.

Mr Farah has dual British and Somali citizenship, and has been knighted by the Queen for his services to athletics. His historic Olympic victories in endurance running – winning four gold medals – have made him a household name in the UK.

Protests erupt outside JFK Airport after President Trump's immigration ban

Despite this, he could be affected by the ban as he is currently out of the country, training in Ethiopia.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Mr Farah wrote: “On 1 January this year, Her Majesty The Queen made me a Knight of the Realm. On 27 January, President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien.

“I am a British citizen who has lived in America for the past six years – working hard, contributing to society, paying my taxes and bringing up our four children in the place they now call home.

“Now, me and many others like me are being told that we may not be welcome. It’s deeply troubling that I will have to tell my children that Daddy might not be able to come home – to explain why the President has introduced a policy that comes from a place of ignorance and prejudice.

“I was welcomed into Britain from Somalia at eight years old and given the chance to succeed and realise my dreams. I have been proud to represent my country, win medals for the British people and receive the greatest honour of a knighthood.

“My story is an example of what can happen when you follow polices of compassion and understanding, not hate and isolation.”

The comment was met by numerous messages of support on social media, including from Sarah Brown, who wrote: “You have made me proud to be British on many an occasion. I hope we can make you proud of us by standing up against this great wrong being done to so many.”

In addition to Somali nationals, Mr Trump’s immigration ban affects travellers from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya and Yemen.

Despite a federal judge ruling the order was unconstitutional, the White House has stood its ground and the Department of Homeland Security has said it will continue to enforce the new policy.

In the US, protests erupted at key airports overnight on Saturday. Protesters packed into arrivals departments in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles and other major facilities to demonstrate their anger.

Homeland Security said around 375 travellers were impacted by the order, either detained at airports across the US or blocked from boarding flights.

Another prominent British Muslim, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, slammed the order, saying it “flies in the face of the values of freedom and tolerance”.

“The USA has a proud history of welcoming and resettling refugees. The President can’t just turn his back on this global crisis – all countries need to play their part,” Mr Khan said.

“While every country has the right to set its own immigration policies, this new policy flies in the face of the values of freedom and tolerance that the USA was built upon.”

While Germany’s Angela Merkel said the ban was “not justified” by the war on terror, Theresa May was slow to join an international chorus of condemnation.

“Immigration policy in the United States is a matter for the government of the United States,” said a spokesperson for the Prime Minister in the early hours of Sunday, adding: “But we do not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking.”

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn criticised Ms May’s slow response, tweeting: “British citizens banned from the US and our government has nothing to say? Disgrace.”

He and Mr Khan called for Mr Trump’s state visit to the UK, planned for later this year, to be suspended while the immigration ban is in place.

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