A “heartbroken” Pakistani Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai on Sunday urged United States President Donald Trump not to turn his back on the world’s “most defenceless”, hours after he signed an order calling for “extreme vetting” of people entering America from seven Muslim-majority nations.
“I am heartbroken that today President Trump is closing the door on children, mothers and fathers fleeing violence and war,” the 19-year-old Pakistani education activist, who survived a near-fatal attack by the Taliban, said in a Facebook post.
Her statement came after Trump ordered “extreme vetting” of people entering the US from certain Muslim-majority countries and banned the entry of Syrian refugees until further notice, as part of new measures to “keep radical Islamic terrorists” out of America.
The countries impacted are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia, according to a White House official.
“I am heartbroken that America is turning its back on a proud history of welcoming refugees and immigrants -- the people who helped build your country, ready to work hard in exchange for a fair chance at a new life.
“I am heartbroken that Syrian refugee children, who have suffered through six years of war by no fault of their own, are singled-out for discrimination,” she said.
“I am heartbroken for girls like my friend Zaynab, who fled wars in three countries -- Somalia, Yemen and Egypt -- before she was even 17. Two years ago she received a visa to come to the United States. She learned English, graduated high school and is now in college studying to be a human rights lawyer,” she said.
Malala, the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize which she shared in 2014 with India’s Kailash Satyarthi, a child rights’ activist, has documented her experiences growing up in Pakistan’s Swat Valley under Taliban rule in the book ‘I am Malala’ co-written with Sunday Times journalist Christina Lamb.
She said Zaynab was separated from her little sister when she fled unrest in Egypt. Today her hope of being reunited with her precious sister dims.
“In this time of uncertainty and unrest around the world, I ask President Trump not to turn his back on the world’s most defenceless children and families,” she added.
Malala, her father Ziauddin Yousafzai and her mother Toor Pekai are now based in Birmingham where Malala attended Edgbaston High School for Girls.
She has expressed her desire to become prime minister of Pakistan in many interviews.
Image: Activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and 17-year-old Syrian refugee Mazoun Almellehan during a press conference. Photograph: Dan Kitwood - WPA Pool/Getty Images