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Ahmad Fanoos is one of Afghanistan’s most famous musicians, but he was no longer safe in his home country after the Taliban took over. Now, thanks to help from the Fox Corporation and the Juilliard School, Fanoos was able to bring his family to the United States and reunite with his son in New York City.

Fanoos was the host of a popular Afghan TV show, Afghan Star, a singing competition show similar to American Idol, and was well-known in his own right for his musical performances playing the harmonium and singing traditional Afghan epic poetry.

The last time the Taliban ran Afghanistan, music was illegal. The reinstated regime seems to be supporting similar restrictions, and on August 15, the Taliban left a threatening letter for Fanoos warning him and his family to stop playing music — “these dirty activities” — and demanding that they leave. Fanoos went into hiding and began desperately seeking a way to evacuate with his family.

One relative, Fanoos’ 24-year-old son, Elham Fanoos, had left Afghanistan a few years before. The younger Fanoos shares his father’s interest in music and is a classically-trained pianist who moved to New York City in 2015 after his school was bombed.

Elham contacted Lesley Rosenthal, his sponsor and the COO at the famed Juilliard School, for help. Fox Corporation is an investor in the Afghan television station that airs Afghan Star, and the company was able to evacuate Fanoos and five other family members on a flight along with Fox personnel.

According to Fox News, Fanoos, along with his daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren, were flown to Qatar, where they remained for two months, and then arrived in the U.S. in late October. The reunion between Ahmad and Elham Fanoos was the first time the father and son had been together in five years.

Fox News international correspondent Bryan Llenas was there for the happy reunion and interviewed the Fanooses about their experiences.

“The Fanoos family believes as long as Afghan music continues, there is hope for a better future in Afghanistan,” said Llenas to introduce the segment.

“For me, it was unbelievable,” said Elham. “I couldn’t believe that I was hugging him.” Ahmad described himself as “very excited” to finally see his son again after five years apart.

“For Afghan music to be safe in exile in other countries means that Afghan music will continue,” Rosenthal told Llenas.

“When I listen to him, it gives me chills,” said Elham about his father’s music. “He sings with love, and I think that’s the most important part of him.”

Llenas concluded the segment by passing on a message from Elham to American veterans, noting that he was “especially grateful” for what they had done for his country. “His message to them is don’t lose hope, don’t think you did nothing,” said Llenas. “He says thanks to U.S. troops, his family and Afghan music have hope for that better future.”

Watch the video above, via Fox News.

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Tags: afghanistan elham fanoos fox corp fox news juilliard his father’s better future his family new york city there is hope the taliban the segment afghan star was able to american to evacuate

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