Sir Mo Farah has condemned Donald Trump’s decision to prevent travellers from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, calling it “ignorant and prejudiced” – and admits he is braced to tell his kids that “daddy might not be able to come home”.
Britain’s double 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic champion, who lives with his wife, Tania, and their four children in Oregon, also starkly contrasted his treatment from the Queen, who recently gave him a knighthood, with that of Trump, saying: “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.”
Farah was speaking from Ethiopia, where he is training at high altitude in preparation for an indoor race in Birmingham next month. He intends to return to Africa afterwards for more training but says he is unsure whether he will be able to travel back to Portland in March as planned because of the executive order signed by Trump barring citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen from entering the US for the next 90 days.
In a strongly worded post on his Facebook page, 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.”
Farah does not know if the ban applies to him. Although he was born in Somalia, he moved to Britain when he was eight and now only holds a British passport. He is seeking to clarify the situation with the US authorities.
“I was welcomed into Britain from Somalia at eight years old and given the chance to succeed and realise my dreams,” he added. “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.”