The Heartbreaking Story Behind Doctor’s Viral Picture

by : Francesca Donovan on : 03 Jan 2017 16:08

Since President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering America, many hundreds of families have been ripped apart.


The executive order bans travel from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan.

Since, the media has covered many heart-breaking consequences of the so-called Muslim ban, and one reaction in particular has gone viral.

When Dr. Kamal Fadlalla, who lives and works at the Interfaith Medical Centre in Brooklyn was detained in Sudan, his outraged colleagues took to Twitter to show their support for the doctor unable to return to his home or his patients, according to the LA Times.


The powerful photograph shows Dr. Mazin Khalid holding up a sign in support of his friend and colleague, Fadlalla, which reads, ‘I am taking care of your mom… But I can’t go and see mine.’

Despite holding an H-1B visa, which is granted to those in ‘speciality occupations’, Fadlalla was not permitted to return to America after visiting his family in Sudan one week before President Trump’s inauguration.


Fadlalla, 33, told the LA Times that he made it through to the airport departure gate in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum before being turned away:

One hour before departure they called my name. When I got to the counter, they said there was a notice from Customs and Border Protection that…they had to offload us from the flight. I was shocked.

Sharing Fadlalla’s shock and horror, his colleagues decided to protest the executive order that has seen a valuable member of the medical community trapped in Sudan.

A spokesperson for the Committee of Interns and Residents union told the Huffington Post that groups gathered at the Interfaith Medical Centre, where Fadlalla has worked for nearly two years, and held up signs pleading for his return.


The signs read, ‘Kamal belongs in Brooklyn’, ‘Bring Kamal back’ and ‘Immigrants keep hospitals running’.

The doctor in the viral photograph – which was shared by J. K. Rowling, no less – also penned a powerful message on Facebook, saying, ‘What makes America great is not a ban based on religion or a wall, but the American ethics and morale and equality.’

Whatever you think of the travel ban put in place by the Trump administration, witnessing the hurt and pain it is causing American citizens – men, women and children who are upstanding pillars of society – is heart-breaking.

Let’s hope the support for Kamal, and the other individuals in his position, continues and he can return home when the immigration vetting process is refined.

Francesca Donovan

A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you've never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.

Topics: Health


LA Times and 1 other
  1. LA Times

    This New York doctor went to visit family in Sudan, and now he's stuck

  2. Huffington Post

    The Moving Story Behind This Viral Photo Of A Doctor’s Powerful Sign