More than 41,000 people have signed a petition calling for a celebrated Syrian musician to be granted a UK visa so he can perform at a British music festival following the rejection of his initial application.
According to Euronews.com, Syrian refugee Ibrahim Keivo was due to play a traditional Middle Eastern instrument known as the oud at the Oxford Chamber Music Festival on 27th September, and was also due to take part in an educational programme during his visit to Britain.
As a result of the government’s decision to reject Mr Keivo’s UK visa a change.org petition has been created by Priya Mitchell, artistic director of the Oxford Chamber Music Festival, calling for the Home Office’s decision to be reversed.
Arguing that all of the requirements for a UK visa had been met by Mr Keivo, Ms Mitchell stated that everyone associated with the festival is “shocked” by the decision.
“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,” she added.
Responding to the criticism, the Home Office stated that Mr Keivo’s application was rejected based on a failure of the festival organisers to prove that the musician’s position could not have been filled by someone already living within the UK.
Commenting on the UK government’s decision, Mr Keivo said: “I fulfilled all the necessary actions and provided all the paperwork that the British Consulate in Düsseldorf asked me to.”
“It is the first time that this happened and I had been touring throughout Europe since 2002 and invited to countless concerts and festivals,” he continued. “All I want is to present my music in this beautiful country.”