Guest Post: Former Iraqi Refugee Ahmed Badr ’20 on Trump’s Muslim Ban

“You can hate me for being muslim, or for being a refugee, but I will show you that your hate is ill founded by my appreciation for your voice and your perspective.”


Today, many in the Wesleyan community are in uproar in the wake of the news of Trump’s executive order banning immigration from 7 majority Muslim countries. Many students attended demonstrations at Bradley International Airport that protested the order. President Roth sent an all-campus email in response to the ban.

Ahmed Badr ’20 is closer to these issues than most. He moved to the U.S. as an Iraqi refugee with his parents when he was 10 years old. He is now a U.S. citizen and student, entrepreneur, youth leader, writer, poet, and photographer. He also founded a global storytelling platform called Narratio. On Sunday afternoon, he tweeted a statement about Trump’s Muslim Ban and has given us permission to republish his words here.

We know that this executive order (and the no doubt numerous to come) is having immediate effects on many in the Wesleyan community. If recent actions by the Trump administration are impacting you or your family and you have something to share, feel free to email us at staff[at]wesleying[dot]org.

“Recent statement from an 18 yr old former Iraqi refugee turned American citizen on the #MuslimBan”

9 years ago, on May 16th, 2008, The United States welcomed my family with open arms. I was 10 years old, full of hope and thought that all American citizens were action stars. I didn’t realize it right away, but we had been given a second chance.

Every day for the last nine years, I have tried to live my life with that second chance in mind, always asking myself ways in which I can contribute to this country, and ways in which I can use my experiences to bring people together of all backgrounds.

Through the demonization, the hate, the misinformation, I found that resilience always prevailed.

In 2008, my family had a very small chance to be accepted into the U.S.

Statistically speaking, I’m not supposed to be here.

Statistically speaking, I’m not supposed to be on the Huffington Post, Adobe, the United Nations, Fusion, Instagram, and SAP. I’m not supposed to have had been accepted to an elite college with a full scholarship. I’m not supposed to have had the chance to empower myself and thousands of others through the power of storytelling.

Because of this second chance, I was able to remind myself and the world that we have more to gain from acknowledging and embracing our differences rather than using them as a means of division.

This is what a refugee looks like. And this is what a refugee can become.

To those who oppose the acceptance of refugees to this country, think back on every second chance that life has given you. Think about all of the contributions that refugees are making and will continue to make.

This fight is long from over, and I’m motivated to continue to share my story and the stories of those who have come before me, after me, and those who I stand with side by side today.

You can hate me for being muslim, or for being a refugee, but I will show you that your hate is ill founded by my appreciation for your voice and your perspective.

Feel free to reach out to me personally if you have any questions or if you simply want to talk. I am and will always be here for dialogue.

Ahmed Badr