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VIDEO: THE KITE RUNNER Cast Read Out a Plea for Compassion in Light of US Immigration Ban

In the light of the immigration ban in the USA, actors from The Kite Runner read out a plea for compassion last night. Watch the video and see the full text from the speech below.

The newly imposed ban on all citizens - refugees or not - from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the USA was challenged by the cast of a West End play last night.

Actors from The Kite Runner read out a plea for compassion.

Cast member Emilio Doorgasingh told the audience at the end of the acclaimed show: "In the light of extraordinary events unfolding on the world stage at the moment, we as a company felt that we had to say something.

"The Kite Runner is about many things, one of which is the story of refugees in America. Last week an executive order from the US president banned all refugees from entering the United States, and banned all citizens, refugees or not, from seven Muslim-majority countries. Due to the nature of this play we feel it incumbent upon us to speak out against such actions.

"We, as a company, are a diverse family of different ethnic and religious backgrounds. We are Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and non-believers, but what unites us all is our belief in humanity. Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, and himself a Muslim-American, came to the United States as a political refugee. He points out that this executive executive order will target mostly 'women and children escaping years of atrocity and unspeakable suffering, but this is a time for compassion and solidarity, not divisive policy that undermines core values'. We as a company embrace these sentiments, and we hope you'll do the same."

The entire audience, who had given the cast a standing ovation, sat down and listened in complete silence to the speech, then broke out into loud applause and cheering, with many giving the cast a further standing ovation.

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini's international bestselling novel and film, is a powerful story of friendship spanning cultures and continents, following one man's journey to find redemption. Afghanistan is a divided country on the verge of war and two childhood friends are about to be torn apart. It's a beautiful afternoon in Kabul and the skies are full of the excitement and joy of a kite flying tournament. But neither Hassan or Amir can foresee the terrible incident which will shatter their lives forever. Adapted into a stunning stage production that has already mesmerised audiences across the UK, The Kite Runner transferred to the West End for a strictly limited 12-week season at Wyndham's Theatre to Saturday 11 March.

The Kite Runner, published in 2003, was Hosseini's first novel. It became an instant bestseller across the globe and has since been published in 70 countries, selling 31.5 million copies in 60 languages. He was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. His father was a diplomat in the Afghan Foreign Ministry and his mother taught Farsi and history at a high school in Kabul. In 1976, the Foreign Ministry relocated the Hosseini family to Paris. They were ready to return to Kabul in 1980, but by then their homeland had witnessed a bloody communist coup and the invasion of the Soviet Army. The Hosseinis sought and were granted political asylum in the United States, and in September 1980 moved to San Jose, California.

Here is the full text of the cast's speech:

"The Kite Runner is about many things, one of which is the story of refugees in America. Last week an executive order from the US president banned all refugees from entering the United States, and banned all citizens, refugees or not, from seven Muslim-majority countries.

"Due to the nature of this play we feel it incumbent upon us to speak out against such actions. We, as a company, are a diverse family of different ethnic and religious backgrounds. We are Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and non-believers, but what unites us all is our belief in humanity. This is also a play about love, hope and redemption.

"Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, and himself a Muslim-American, came to the United States as a political refugee. He points out that this executive order will target mostly "women and children escaping years of atrocity and unspeakable suffering."

"He goes on to say that this is 'a time for compassion and solidarity, not divisive policy that undermines [our] core values'.

"We as a company embrace these sentiments, and we hope you'll do the same through your compassion, generosity, and actions, however small that might help alleviate the plight of the world's refugees and displaced peoples."



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