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2-min read

'Where is That Exactly' Asks Donald Trump as Rohingya Refugee Seeks US Help

US President Donald Trump also appeared unfamiliar with the work and cause of Nobel laureate Nadia Murad as she pleaded with him to help the Yazidis of Iraq.

News18.com

Updated:July 19, 2019, 2:32 PM IST
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'Where is That Exactly' Asks Donald Trump as Rohingya Refugee Seeks US Help
File photo of US President Donald Trump. (Reuters)
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Washington: US President Donald Trump appeared clueless on Wednesday when he met a representative from the Rohingya, a Muslim minority targeted in a brutal campaign two years ago in Myanmar. He also appeared unfamiliar with the work and cause of Nobel laureate Nadia Murad as she pleaded with him to help the Yazidis of Iraq.

Trump was meeting a group of survivors of religious persecution in the Oval Office on the sidelines of a major meeting at the State Department.

Asking about the measures that can be taken by the US to help the Rohingyas, a member said, “I am a Rohingya from Bangladesh refugee camp. Most of the refugees are willing to go back home as soon as possible. So, what is the plan to help us?”

In response, the US President asked, “Where is that exactly?” He was then informed, “Bangladesh is right next to Burma,” by one of Trump’s advisors.

One day earlier, his administration banned travel to the United States by Myanmar's army chief and three other senior officers, calling the violence "ethnic cleansing."

Nadia Murad, one of thousands of women and girls from the ancient faith abducted by the Islamic State group as they overran swathes of Iraq in 2014.

After Murad explained how her mother and six brothers were killed and that 3,000 Yazidis remained missing, Trump said, "And you had the Nobel Prize? That's incredible. They gave it to you for what reason?"

With little pause, Murad, who was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year, repeated her story.

"After all this happened to me, I didn't give up. I make it clear to everyone that ISIS raped thousands of Yazidi women," she said, referring to the Islamic State group.

"Please do something. It's not about one family," she said.

Trump, who has boasted of crushing the self-styled caliphate of the Islamic State group that once stretched across Iraq and Syria, also appeared at a loss when Murad asked him to press the Iraqi and Kurdish governments to create safe conditions for the Yazidis to return.

"But ISIS is gone and now it's Kurdish and who?" Trump asked, before later telling her, "I know the area very well."

Murad also explained how Yazidis took dangerous routes to find safety in Germany, whose welcome to refugees has been vocally criticized by Trump.

The Trump administration frequently speaks of promoting religious freedom, a key issue for much of his evangelical Christian base.

Government ministers and representatives of persecuted groups are spending three days at the State Department for a meeting on religious freedom, which Vice President Mike Pence will address on Thursday.

With inputs from AFP

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