A talented atheist musician and his family, who are being persecuted for their “western ways” including non-religious beliefs, need your help.
This musician intends to open a music institute in Canada. His visa application was submitted through a new Government of Canada pilot program designed to support talented refugees to access skilled visas.
The musician’s case shows that talented refugees have a place in Canada’s skilled immigration future and are able to make significant contributions to the national economy and the communities where they put down roots.
Beyond Canada, this case will model a skills-based solution to displacement for the international community as it explores innovative new approaches to the global refugee crisis.
Other apostates, many who are talented writers and bloggers, may also benefit from this new pathway to Canada. That is why we are asking you to consider supporting TalentLift to support this musician.
There are more than 26 million refugees in need of a permanent home, but less than 1 percent will access resettlement in any given year. TalentLift seeks to address this by:
• supporting employers to source and relocate talent from within refugee populations,
• providing a solution to skills shortages in Canada,
• working to level the field for displaced talent, and
• enabling refugees to relocate and rebuild their careers in new home communities where their rights and futures are secure.
Many thousands of refugees have the skills and potential to compete for jobs and skilled visas, just like talented people anywhere, but they have historically been excluded from these opportunities.
While in their home country, this musician and his spouse owned and operated a successful music institute for over ten years. They taught multiple instruments and vocals to students of all levels, from primary school children to adults.
The candidate also volunteered with two UN organizations as a music teacher for children impacted by the war. He has released two albums and was working on his third album, a collaboration with over 100 musicians from around the world, before he was forced to flee.
During the war in his home country, Western music was criminalized and anyone associated with it became a target. There are documented reports of punishment ranging from being detained for wearing heavy metal t-shirts and receiving lashes for playing an electric keyboard, to being shot and killed for listening to a pop song.
The musician and his spouse do not conform to traditions and religious beliefs. His spouse does not wear a hijab and their connection with Western culture, music, and musicians put them at risk. They were harassed and received multiple threats to their lives.
In 2014, a car bomb went off in front of the music institute killing some of the students. The musician and his wife persevered and resisted closing the institute. However, they continued to receive multiple threats, both at home and at the institute.
At the end of 2018, sadly the music institute was struck by a missile and completely destroyed. Even after losing everything, they continued to tutor and teach music to students either at their homes or online. They would not charge tuition to any student who was impacted by the war.
After seeing a photo of himself online as “wanted” and receiving a call to complete mandatory military service, the musician knew that he could no longer stay in his home country. He fled the country with his wife and son and is struggling to get by. He has to keep his identity hidden and has limited rights and protection in his host country. Their son, who is six years old, is unable to attend school.
The family’s Canadian visa application is based on plans to open a music institute in Canada. TalentLift must raise a total of $20,222 to show that the candidate has enough settlement funds to support himself and his family.
CFI U.S. (Secular Rescue Program) and the Freedom From Religion Foundation have already donated more than half of this amount. We are asking for your help in raising the remaining $10,000 by August 31, 2021.
The entire amount raised will go directly to this family as “settlement funds” deposited in their bank account once they arrive in Canada. Donations in any amount will directly support this candidate to qualify for immigration to Canada, rebuild his music and teaching career, and secure and free a future for himself and his family.
TalentLift is a federally incorporated non-profit and cannot issue charitable receipts at this time.
This is an opportunity to show the world that atheists and humanists are caring people, who are committed to helping others. Let’s work together to help one more family find safety.
Gus Lyn-Piluso Ph.D.