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Home Office urged to grant Syrian musician visa for festival

From BBC - September 15, 2017

A renowned Syrian folk musician has been refused a five-day visa to play at a UK festival because he lacks "special skills", its organisers say.

Ibrahim Keivo was due to play at the Oxford Chamber Music Festival in October, but the Home Office has declined his application.

A petition calling on officials to let Mr Keivo perform has received 1,729 signatures.

Writer Philip Pullman has called the decision "a disgrace".

Mr Keivo is a refugee who was granted asylum in Germany two years ago.

He plays Syrian folk songs on a stringed instrument called an oud, and was due to participate in an educational programme for young people.

But in a statement, the Home Office said applicant's sponsors "must demonstrate that the role could not have been filled by someone already resident in the UK".

'Simply cruel'

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