Olympic distance-running champion Mo Farah released an emotional statement Sunday in response to Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, saying the policy “comes from a place of ignorance and prejudice.”
Trump signed an executive order Friday evening banning people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen from entering the United States. The ban extends to permanent legal U.S. residents and those with valid visas. A federal judge issued an emergency ruling Saturday night halting parts of the provision.
Farah was born in Somalia and moved to England as a child. He is now a resident of Oregon but is currently training in Ethiopia. In his statement, Farah said he was concerned he may not be allowed to come home.
“On 1st January this year, Her Majesty The Queen made me a Knight of the Realm. On 27th January, President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien,” Farah wrote.
“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.”
Great Britain’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office issued a statement Sunday evening clarifying that the ban does not apply to travelers coming from countries other than the seven on the list. A spokesman for Farah confirmed that Farah will be able to return to the U.S. but that Farah “still fundamentally disagrees with this incredibly divisive and discriminatory policy.”
Farah is a four-time Olympic gold medalist, winning the 5,000m and 10,000m at both the London and Rio games. He also has five gold medals at the world championships.
Nike CEO Mark Parker sent the following email to all company employees regarding Farah's statement.