My name is Annabel Ruffell and I am the founder of Journey for Earth, a global awareness company committed to inspiring change for humanity, the environment and animals, one choice at a time.
I worked on a short film with Conor about 15 years ago! My days as an actress in England 🙂 I had not seen him since, until I received an email from him…he had stumbled upon my art website whilst looking for something online. Small world! I learned what he was doing back in England to promote racial equality and I found it inspiring and of course wanted to interview him!
Conor Ibrahiem began his career as an actor in 1999, starring in many TV programmes such as ‘Emmerdale’, ‘Eastenders’, ‘DL & Pascoe’ and ‘Bad Girls’. Years later he turned his attention to scriptwriting and in 2005 he was selected onto Screen Yorkshire’s ‘Spark’ scheme to develop a feature film concept.
Passion for the arts and faith were the foundation for Conor to establish ‘Arakan Creative’, a theatre company specialising in the Islamic world to promote cohesion. It is the first of its kind in the North of England. He recently secured the opportunity to co-host a newly emerging network – the ‘Racial Justice Network’ – that basically fights the corner for racial equality in all its forms.
He is currently in pre-production of his first low-budget feature film, an extension of his current work but with a hope to reach a global audience.
1) What Journey are You on?
Many journeys. The personal, the religious, the home maker, the husband, the community activist, the writer/director. They’re all linked of course but the one that has introduced me to the wider world is by mixing two in particular – religion and art. As a Muslim I live in age where it’s Groundhog Day for Islam in the news – another Muslim has done another crime. I’m tired of hearing about it, yet it’s exactly that which drives me forward to fight on our behalf. When I say ‘our’ I mean the rest of us who are tarred with the well-used brush. So in a nutshell, I want redress the balance of negative stories spewing out of the Muslim world with some positive ones. Cos they do exist – and I use theatre and film to prove it.
2) What has been one of your greatest challenges over the years, either with the work that you do or in another area of your life, and how did you overcome it?
Overcoming the fact that even in charitable, community and spiritual circles – the ‘beacons’ of hope – there are two faced, selfish hyenas who are doing nothing for the cause. It saddens me greatly. Why be part of social change when you don’t mean it? Usually it comes down to money, power or image. So I do my best to stay away from such leeches. You know who you are people, do us all a favour and stop. I overcome any challenge with a prayer and belief that if I could be born in a state of dependence and somehow grow and learn, then anything is possible.
3) Who or what inspires you the most?
Christopher Reeve/Superman. Since I was a kid I was inspired to become something bigger than I could be. I wanted to be in a world where a man could fly and beat the bad guys. Of course it’s not real but positive change is real and great stories are equally as thrilling to me as fighting for justice. In later life I become an actor, then a writer and then a theatre director. Mr Reeve of course was to inspire me in another way when he met with his unfortunate accident and he became a real life hero. How he managed to stay focused and will himself through each day is beyond me. I wish I could have met him. Maybe some day I will.
Another inspiration is the power to achieve. I established Arakan Creative in 2009 from nothing. Since then we’ve made some great achievements and been blessed with a few awards also. In 2011 I then established Bradvertise, a media company that produces internet commercials and media works to promote morals, with a % of all commissions we secure going to a good cause. So both companies are Social Enterprises, in my opinion capitalism with a conscience.
4) What is your greatest hope for our planet at this time?
That the human race becomes the human walk. That we slow down and appreciate the life we are blessed with, look again at the wonderful creations around us and realise that war and selfishness is not a future we should inherit. The sooner we learn from the past, the sooner we will have our well-earned tomorrow.
What Journey are YOU on?