Earlier this week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order barring citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen from entering the United States for the next 90 days, in what Trump is calling an effort to defend the United States from “radical Islamic terrorism.” The order also mandated that Christian refugees be given priority over Muslim ones. U.S.-based distance runner Mo Farah, who will likely by affected by the ban, is a Muslim.
According to what the State Department told Wall Street Journal reporters tonight, the ban “also applies to people who originally hail from those countries but are traveling on a passport issued by any other nation, the official said. That means Iraqis seeking to enter the U.S. on a British passport, for instance, will be barred, according to a U.S. official.”
Mo Farah has a British passport, but he was born in Somalia. Farah lives and trains in Portland, Oregon with the Nike Oregon Project, but he is training in Ethiopia right now. Under what State officials told the WSJ, Farah is very likely banned from entering the United States for the next 90 days.
British tabloids are writing that Farah “would appear to” and “could” be barred from returning to the U.S., though Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted that Farah was “banned.” British MP Nadhim Zahawi was born in Iraq and tweeted that he was “banned from the USA based on my country of birth.”
After yesterday’s news that Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration would seem to block four-time Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah from entering the United States, we (flotrack.org) received an email from Farah’s representatives.
The email read in part:
“…the situation at this stage is still unclear. Mo is a British citizen with a British passport and does NOT have dual nationality or hold a Somalian passport. However, he was born in Somalia before moving to the UK at the age of 8 and becoming a British citizen.
We are seeking to clarify the situation with the US authorities. Mo is currently at a training camp and is not planned to return to the US for a number of weeks. However, as I’m sure you can appreciate he and [his wife] Tania want to understand the direct impact on them (if any) as a matter of urgency.”
Photo: Mo Farah is at training camp in Ethiopia at the moment.
Farah, who lives and trains in Portland with the Nike Oregon Project, also posted on Facebook some hours ago. Here is the entirety of the post:
“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.
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.”
Trump’s order banned citizens of Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Syria, Somalia, and Libya for entering the U.S. for 90 days, banned all refugee entry for 120 days, indefinitely banned entry of Syrian refugees, and prioritized Christian refugees over Muslim refugees for entry. (Though Farah is obviously not a refugee, he is a Muslim.) The State Department added on Saturday that the order applied to people with nationality from those countries, even if they were traveling on another passport. But today’s word that Farah does not have Somali nationality means that the ban might not apply to him.
Additionally, federal judges in New York and Virginia issued stays temporarily blocking enforcement of parts of the order, so the ban may end up overturned in the courts. But it’s clear that Farah and his camp are deeply concerned about the implications.
Photo: Mo Farah, here in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia with Haile Gebrselassie (left) now president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation. as learnt not to write off Mo Farah.