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Arras & Marewan Must Stay in Scotland!

Arras Abdullah Ali and Marewan Mohmaud are Kurdish musicians who fled Iraq in 2000.  They were persecuted under the regime of Saddam Hussein because they promoted the Kurdish culture through their music.

When they arrived in the UK, they were both dispersed to Glasgow and there they formed the band 'Newroz' with three other Kurdish musicians.

The people of Scotland have given them a warm welcome and their music is known and loved across the region. 'Newroz' have performed at local festivals and have even recorded for BBC Radio Scotland.

Three members of the band have been granted indefinite leave to remain, but Arras and Marewan have been refused asylum and now face removal. They know that even in today's Iraq, life as a Kurdish musician will not be a safe option.

Their friends and supporters are asking Des Browne, the Minister for Immigration, to look with compassion on the cases of two young men who have already contributed so much to their local community and will continue to do so if allowed to remain in safety.

What you can do to help

Fax/write to Des Browne, Minister for Immigration, using the model letter below, which you can copy/amend/write your own, requesting that Arras Abdullah Ali and Marewan Mohmaud are allowed to remain in the UK.

Fax No : 020 7273 2043, from outside the UK + 44 20 7273 2043

Or write to:

Des Browne
Minister for Immigration
Home Office
50 Queen Anne's Gate
London SW1H 9AT

Please notify the campaign of anything sent:

Model letter:

Dear Mr Browne,

Re:      Arras Abdullah Ali.                HO: Ref: DVE/ 97730 A1081374

Marewan Mohmaud.             HO: Ref: DVE/ 97748 M1080661

I have made myself familiar with the case of Arras Abdullah Ali & Marewan Mohmaud, Kurdish musicians from Iraq who have lived in Glasgow for over 4 years, and I am writing to ask that you look again at their applications to remain in Britain.

Arras and Marewan left their cities in Iraq in 2000, where being an active musician playing and promoting Kurdish music and culture became too dangerous.  Many Iraqi musicians were persecuted by the Saddam regime. After meeting in Dover, Arras and Marewan were both dispersed to Glasgow, where they formed the band Newroz, playing traditional Kurdish music.  The band involves three other Kurdish musicians who have all been granted protection.

With Newroz, Arras and Marewan have performed dance music extensively across Scotland in the last four years, building a highly enthusiastic following, and bringing together Scottish and refugee communities at events such as the North Glasgow International Festival in Sighthill and during the annual Refugee Week in Scotland. They have also played at the Glasgow Mela, Celtic Connections, Traquair Fair, countless community concerts, and have recorded a session for BBC Radio Scotland.  In addition to performing as Newroz, they have been supporting local Kurdish children, teaching and performing traditional songs, holding workshops on Kurdish culture with Glasgow Youth Theatres and taken part in a symposium at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama.

Despite the uncertainty of their situation, Arras and Marewan have spent the last four years putting down roots in Scotland. They have made many friends. They feel at home in Glasgow, part of the community, and they want to settle, to live and to continue their work here. Life as a Kurdish musician is still not a realistic option in today’s Iraq.

Please look again at Arras and Marewan’s cases and consider granting them leave to remain in the UK. They have received such a warm welcome from people in Scotland, and have contributed so much already. It would be a great loss if they were forced to leave.

Yours Sincerely


February 2005


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