Thursday 23 November 2017

'It's deeply troubling' - Mo Farah relieved to be exempt from Donald Trump's 'divisive' travel ban

Olympian Mo Farah. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Olympian Mo Farah. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Mo Farah is "relieved" at being able to travel to his home in the United States after the Foreign Office said President Donald Trump's executive order on inbound migration does not apply to UK nationals.

Farah, currently training in Ethiopia, is a British citizen but his status with regard to returning to his family in America had been left unclear after Somalia, his place of birth, was placed under a temporary travel ban to the US alongside six other mainly Muslim countries and all refugees.

However, irrespective of birthplace, British nationals are exempt from Friday's order, according to the Foreign Office, and will be allowed to enter the States, even if they are travelling from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen - the seven countries placed under travel restrictions.

Therefore, Farah will be able to reunite with his family in Portland, Oregon - where they have been based for the last six years - once he has finished his training camp.

Farah said in a statement on Sunday evening: "We understand from the statement released this evening by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office that the executive order will not apply to Mo, and we are grateful to the FCO for urgently clarifying the situation.

"Mo is relieved that he will be able to return to his family once his current training camp concludes, however, as he said in his earlier statement, he still fundamentally disagrees with this incredibly divisive and discriminatory policy."

People chant slogans at the Indianapolis International Airport, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, during a protest against President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily suspending all immigration for citizens of seven majority Muslim countries for 90 days. (Kelly Wilkinson/The Indianapolis Star via AP)
People chant slogans at the Indianapolis International Airport, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, during a protest against President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily suspending all immigration for citizens of seven majority Muslim countries for 90 days. (Kelly Wilkinson/The Indianapolis Star via AP)
Demonstrators gather outside Tom Bradley International Terminal during a protest against President Donald Trump's travel ban on refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations, at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Deanna Culley gets ready for a protest against President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily suspending all immigration for citizens of seven majority Muslim countries for 90 days at the Indianapolis International Airport, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. (Kelly Wilkinson/The Indianapolis Star via AP)
Protesters wrap around the baggage carousels as they listen to speakers at the Indianapolis International Airport, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, during a protest against President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily suspending all immigration for citizens of seven majority Muslim countries for 90 days. (Kelly Wilkinson/The Indianapolis Star via AP)
People chant slogans at the Indianapolis International Airport, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, during a protest against President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily suspending all immigration for citizens of seven majority Muslim countries for 90 days. (Kelly Wilkinson/The Indianapolis Star via AP)
People chant slogans at the Indianapolis International Airport, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. (Kelly Wilkinson/The Indianapolis Star via AP)
People during a protest held in response to President Donald Trump's travel ban, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
People walk toward Westlake Park for a protest held in response to President Donald Trump's travel ban, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
A young Muslim woman listens during a protest held in response to President Donald Trump's travel ban, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
A man raises his fist during a protest held in response to President Donald Trump's travel ban, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
King County Councilmember Larry Gossett speaks during a protest held in response to President Donald Trump's travel ban, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
A woman cheers with a Somali flag during a protest held in response to President Donald Trump's travel ban, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
People march through downtown Seattle during a protest held in response to President Donald Trump's travel ban, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
Muslim Somali immigrants cheer during a protest held in response to President Donald Trump's travel ban, in Seattle, U.S. Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
Young men cheer during a protest held in response to President Donald Trump's travel ban, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
Demonstrators shut down the traffic loops at LAX International Airport and yell slogans during a protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Ted Soqui
Demonstrators shut down the traffic loops at LAX International Airport and yell slogans during a protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Ted Soqui
Demonstrators shut down the traffic loops at LAX International Airport and yell slogans during a protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Ted Soqui
A man holds a sign during a protest held in response to President Donald Trump's travel ban, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
People march through downtown Seattle during a protest held in response to President Donald Trump's travel ban in Seattle, Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
People gather during a protest against President Donald Trump's executive order banning travel to the United States by citizens of several countries Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. (Jeffrey M. Smith/The Times Herald via AP)
Demonstrators hold signs and chant during a protest against President Donald Trump's executive order banning travel to the United States by citizens of several countries Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. (Jeffrey M. Smith/The Times Herald via AP)
Hundreds of demonstrators gather on the roadway during a protest against President Donald Trump's executive order banning travel to the United States by citizens of several countries at Los Angeles International Airport, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Demonstrators hold signs and chant in the baggage claim area during a protest against President Donald Trump's executive order banning travel to the United States by citizens of several countries Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. (Jeffrey M. Smith/The Times Herald via AP)

Farah earlier in the day highlighted the situation many nationals born in one of the seven banned countries were facing. He condemned the order, fearing it applied to him, as making him feel like an "alien".

The 33-year-old athlete was knighted in the New Year Honours List for his achievements on the track, which include winning the 5,000 metres and 10,000m double at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.

He said in a statement issued on Facebook earlier on Sunday: "On January 1 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 policies of compassion and understanding, not hate and isolation."

After moving to the UK from Somalia, Farah, who does not have dual nationality or hold a Somalian passport, lived in west London and his athletic prowess was first spotted by a PE teacher.

As well as his Olympic success, Farah won the 5,000m and 10,000m double at the World Championships in 2011 and 2015.

Downing Street released a statement on Sunday saying that Prime Minister Theresa May "did not agree" with President Trump's approach while Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson described the travel ban as "divisive and wrong".

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