‘Bridges, not walls’

‘My Stealthy Freedom’ founder responds to Trump’s visa ban

Masih Alinejad. (Marc Bryan-Brown/Women in the World)

President Donald Trump announced that he would issue an executive order on Friday to limit the flow of refugees into the United States, suspending immigration for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for at least 30 days. Masih Alinejad, an Iranian immigrant who lives in New York and is the founder of the “My Stealthy Freedom” campaign, which began in response to women being forced to wear the hijab in Iran, lashed out against the president in a post on her Instagram account.

“Why am I opposed to a wall? Because I am coming from a country where I have experienced walls all around me. I am coming from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” she wrote next to a photo of herself holding a sign that reads “We’re all immigrants. Build bridges not walls.’ She describes the situation in her country where girls from the age of 7 are forced to wear the veil or be deprived of an education. “I am coming from a country where there the government forced hijab on  Christians, Jewish and other minorities and if they say NO they will face a wall to. I am coming from a country where there the government has erected institutional walls between the Baha’i minority and the Muslim majority, treating Baha’is as second class citizens,” she continues, describing other limitations and barriers Iran places on its citizens. “That is why the idea of a wall in the United States shudders me,” she concludes. “I know very well that ordinary citizens on the other side of the wall will be suffering immensely. Often times politicians and celebrities find a way of minimizing the damage from these policies while ordinary citizens on the other side of the wall are the ones that suffer the most.”

Founder of My Stealthy Freedom Over Trump’s Visa Ban Trump said this week that he would issue an executive order to suspend immigration for at least 30 days for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen…I am an Iranian immigrant in New York: “Why am I opposed to a wall? Because I am coming from a country where I have experienced walls all around me. I am coming from the Islamic Republic of Iran”. Walls in my country start at the age of 7 for girls. Girls at that age are obliged to don the veil. If they say no this compulsory veil, they are deprived of an education. I am coming from a country where there the government forced hijab onChristians, jewish and other minorities and if they say NO they will face a wall to. I am coming from a country where there the government has erected institutional walls between the Baha’i minority and the Muslim majority, treating Baha’is as second class citizens. When students fill out forms to enrol for university, they are obliged to indicate what their religion is. If they write Baha’i, then they are kept on the other side of the wall, i.e., out of school. I am coming from a country where instead of encouraging building bridges between peoples, we have had to live with the idea of walls. Slogans like “Death to America! Death to the UK! I am not Baha’i! I support compulsory veil! I do not consume alcohol! I do not listen to music where women sing! We do not have gays! ……” These high walls have created deep divisions and an institutionalized form of discrimination against those on the other side of the wall. That is why the idea of a wall in the United States shudders me. I know very well that ordinary citizens on the other side of the wall will be suffering immensely. Often times politicians and celebrities find a way of minimising the damage from these policies while ordinary citizens on the other side of the wall are the ones that suffer the most.

A post shared by Masih Alinejad (@masih.alinejad) on

Alinejad has appeared multiple times on the Women in the World stage, most recently last November when she appeared at our San Antonio salon. During a conversation with Yahoo News and Finance anchor Bianna Golodryga, Alinejad talked about what inspired her to launch her Facebook page, which now boasts more than one million followers. Watch a clip of the interview below.

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