Give Syrian refugee Ibrahim Keivo a visa to perform at our music festival

This petition made change with 44,835 supporters!

My friend Ibrahim Keivo is a highly regarded Syrian musician who was due to perform at our Oxford Chamber Music Festival.

But the Home Office refused his 5-day visa and we are now devastated that he cannot join us. That is why I’m calling on the Home Office to allow him into the UK for only 5 days. The festival starts in Oxford on the 27th September 2017 and Ibrahim was due to play in the opening concert at the Sheldonian Theatre. We have only a few days to get this decision reversed!

Ibrahim is a Syrian refugee who was granted asylum in Germany two years ago where he works and lives with his family. He has impeccable references and has been invited by the world famous musician Jordi Savall to tour Europe this year.

As the Artistic Director of the Festival, I can say that everyone involved was honoured and excited to announce Ibrahim's participation. We have been very much looking forward to welcoming him in the UK.

The Home Office has given the feeble excuse that he hasn't a special skill in its refusal to grant the visa. He is scheduled to sing and play his stringed instrument, the Oud, in concert, but importantly is also going to be part of an educational programme for children and young people in Oxford.

We have fulfilled all requirements demanded by the Home Office in detail and with plenty of time to spare- a painstaking and expensive procedure. Everybody connected with the festival is shocked by the Home Office’s decision to decline his visa.

Being forced to leave his home and losing everything was hard enough. To be refused the opportunity to share his art with us all is simply cruel.

It is particularly troubling as my festival has a long tradition of inviting international artists from many different parts of the world. I have never had to cancel an invitation on the grounds that a musician is not welcome in the UK.

Music is a universal language that builds bridges and brings people of every culture, religion, creed, heritage or background closer together and we still hope that Ibrahim Keivo will be granted a visa in time and will feel as welcomed in this country as he should be. I can't understand what possible threat he might pose by coming to play in Oxford for a few days.  

Writer Philip Pullman has called the decision a "disgrace.” Councillor Susanna Pressel is trying to help us.

Please sign this petition, and hopefully we can welcome Ibrahim!

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