Syrian refugee creatively trolls Nigel Farage

Syrian refugee creatively trolls Nigel Farage
Journalist Isha Sesay and Hassan Akkad at the Goalkeepers 2017 at Jazz at Lincoln Center event, New York City, September 20, 2017. (AFP)
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Updated 12 March 2021

Syrian refugee creatively trolls Nigel Farage

Syrian refugee creatively trolls Nigel Farage
  • Filmmaker Hassan Akkad praised on Twitter for ‘genius’ idea
  • Farage is ex-leader of right-wing, anti-immigrant UK Independence Party

LONDON: Syrian filmmaker and refugee Hassan Akkad has been praised for his creative response to the latest money-making endeavor by Nigel Farage, former leader of the right-wing, anti-immigrant UK Independence Party.

Farage — who made a name for himself campaigning for Brexit — recently quit politics and announced that for £63.75 ($88.50), he would record a “message for Mother’s Day, a birthday, a wedding, to surprise somebody.”

Akkad, who fled Syria in 2015 and now lives in London, had a creative idea for Farage’s new venture.

“Please say congratulations to my friend Mohammad for being granted asylum in the UK after his perilous boat crossing,” he requested. “Please wish him a peaceful life here and that him and his wife have many kids.”

A Twitter user said of Akkad’s initiative: “That’s beautifully done. Genius.”

Images shared by Akkad on Twitter show that Farage responded by saying: “I am not for channel crossings.”

Farage has has been vocal in criticizing the government for not doing enough to prevent refugees and migrants crossing from France to England — as Akkad did to arrive in the UK.

The Syrian used the opportunity to urge people to support the campaign group Freedom From Torture.

Akkad has made headlines at various times in recent years, including for making a BAFTA-award-winning film documenting his journey across the English Channel, and for taking up work as a National Health Service cleaner to help with the British fight against COVID-19.

In February, he was granted permanent leave to remain in the UK. “With this, the fact it’s indefinite, it’s just a massive relief,” he said at the time.

“I saw the email and just started jumping around in my flat not being able to contain my happiness. I can finally, easily call this country my home, because I’m protected here, I’m safe.”