With four Olympic gold medals, Mo Farah is arguably the most recognizable distance runners in the world. Despite his overwhelming success on the track, Farah says even he cannot run away from President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban.
Farah, a naturalized-British citizen, was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, and moved to Great Britian when he was 8-years-old. Now, Farah lives and trains in Portland, Oregon, under Alberto Salazaar with the famed Nike Oregon Project. Farah lives together in Oregon with his wife, Tania Nell, and their four children.
On Friday, Trump signed an executive order eliminating admittance to the U.S. for those from many predominantly-Muslim countries. According to the ban, no refugees will be admitted to the United States for 120 days, while Syrian refugees have been banned indefinitely. Additionally, for 90 days, Trump’s order has suspended entry to the United States for those from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
— Press Association (@PA) January 29, 2017
Because Farah is originally from Somalia and has dual Somalian citizenship, he fears that he will not be able to return home to his family. Farah was training in Ethiopia when the order was signed.
“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,” Farah wrote on Facebook. “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.”
In the same Facebook post, Farah notes that he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on January 1. Less than four weeks later, Farah no longer feels welcome in his home, he said.
“On 1st January this year, Her Majesty The Queen made me a Knight of the Realm,” the 33-year-old gold medalist wrote on Facebook. “On 27th January, President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien.”
Farah went on to condemn the new policy, claiming that the policy comes from a place of “hate and isolation.”
“I was welcomed into Britain from Somalia at eight years old and given the chance to succeed and realise my dreams,” Farah wrote. “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.”
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) January 29, 2017
At the time of this publishing, Farah’s Facebook post had been shared more than 157,000 times and had received more than 8,500 comments — many of them in support for the 33-year-old British Olympic champion.
During the last two Olympic Games, Mo Farah became a crowd favorite on the track, running to gold medals in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter events at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Farah is known for his big smile and his signature dance move, called the Mobot, which he breaks out after winning races.
— Dubai Eye 103.8FM (@DubaiEye1038FM) November 22, 2016
This is not the first time Farah has made headlines as a devout Muslim. In 2012, Farah said he was stopped by airport security while traveling under suspicion of being a terrorist. Farah attributes the stops to the fact that his full name is Mohamed, and he believes that the stops were automated based his name.
[Featured Image by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP]