Everyone knows Taylor Swift to be notorious for her secret investigations into people’s everyday problems and turn their worlds upside down. News has been running like wildfire of a certain young man — Akram Shibly, who just like any other fan of Taylor Swift’s, has made a single request.
This request, however, isn’t your normal help in paying off student loans or to attend a bridal shower. Shibly has asked Taylor Swift to post a video letting the 10,000 Syrian refugees know that they are welcome over the course of this year to the United States. There have been mixed interpretations and views concerning his request, so here at MuslimGirl.net I had the privilege of speaking with him to get you the realest details on his mission:
MuslimGirl: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what prompted this idea for reaching out to Taylor.
Akram Shibly: I’m a Syrian American born and raised in Buffalo, N.Y. I love making films and I’ve made it my mission in life to create movies that entertain as well as enlighten people. I recently traveled to Jordan to capture the stories of Syrian refugees, and since then I’ve been trying to think of creative ways to bring attention to their struggles.
Flashback to 1989 — and by 1989, I mean Taylor Swift’s 1989 concert tour — I was taken away by her performance. It wasn’t just flashing lights and incredible music, but she also took the time to speak to her audience and leave them with words of encouragement. Her energy stuck with me and since that night I felt that we are on the same page with our mission to bring light into people’s lives as well as entertaining them. I felt that together, we could do something great for humanity and it just seemed appropriate to reach out to her with this noble cause in mind.
Are you surprised by all the recognition this movement has received?
I’m very happy with the recognition and support it has received thus far but I think we are still a long ways away from capturing her attention.
Has the attention you have received been mostly positive?
Definitely. I was worried when I made this that people would think this is too random, or that I was just a crazy fan with a cause. But most people have been very supportive in recognizing this campaign’s potential.
Some have even claimed that this is challenging pop culture. That idea was exciting at first, but in truth I never intended this to be a challenge, but an invitation. A personal invitation for Taylor to join us in welcoming refugees and ultimately creating a positive impact on the world.
Why do you believe that Taylor among all celebrities is the best person to get this message across?
Taylor is a very unique person. She has remained true to herself and her values throughout her career despite the pressures of fame. I think that speaks volumes about her character and I truly believe this cause falls perfectly in line with her values which include showing compassion toward all people and uplifting those that are down. Speaking more broadly, she also represents the common voice and speaks for millions of people. If she is able to welcome refugees, then anyone can.
How do you feel about the Syrian Refugee Crisis? Do you think that people in our country (The United States) are concerned?
I think it is one of the saddest things I’ve witnessed in my life. It’s heartbreaking that the world has not been able to prevent this from happening and only now are we trying to pick up the pieces that are continuing to pile up. I’ve seen many Americans concerned with the refugee crisis and eager to do whatever they can to help, but at the same time there are others who fail to realize how this issue affects us. I worry that a great portion of our population is unaware of the crisis or at least unaware how it affects us, and others still would rather keep our doors closed than help humans coming to our shores with good intentions.
I think Taylor’s voice can help bridge the gap and prove to the world at large that our nation’s core values of openness and acceptance still hold true to this day.
So, What’s your last message or pitch to Taylor?
Taylor, if you see this message please know that I understand that this might be a difficult decision for you to make, but consider these few points:
- Your millions of fans and supporters will stay by your side no matter what.
- There are millions of others out there that are desperately in need of a voice, and if you lend them yours you will put a smile on every single one of their faces — a smile that won’t fade.
- You have donated tens of thousands of dollars to help individuals in need, and have permanently changed their lives. You now have the opportunity to do so without spending a penny.
- You will be remembered as someone who crossed boundaries and spoke up for the greater good.
- Your fanbase will not shrink, but grow in both numbers and diversity.
You’ve taught me that people can be cruel but ultimately what matters is how we view ourselves. If you choose to do this, I think you will be very happy with yourself because you will be touching the lives of millions who you probably never imagined would need you right now.
We believe in you and your compassion for humanity and we support you no matter what you decide to do.
Follow @AkramShibly to get the latest updates. And as always, tweet #DearTaylor to help Akram reach his goal!