Former Syrian refugee caught in an airport for 7 months finds a brand new aspect of Canada in B.C.’s north | CBC Information

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A former Syrian refugee — who achieved a certain quantity of worldwide recognition after being stranded in a Malaysian airport for months — says travelling to northern B.C. for a short lived job task has broadened his Canadian expertise.

Hassan Al Kontar, 40, has been working as an emergency well being employee with the Pink Cross in Fort St. John since early July — after dwelling 2½ years within the Decrease Mainland working with Vancouver’s Pink Cross.

Now a Canadian everlasting resident, the refugee from Syria’s civil warfare made worldwide headlines in 2018 when he was stranded in Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur Worldwide Airport for practically seven months.

He did not have the paperwork to stay within the nation, didn’t wish to return to Syria and was not welcome elsewhere — till November 2018 when a sponsor from Whistler, B.C., helped him discover asylum in Canada.

Al Kontar says coming to Fort St. John and to assist with COVID-19 vaccinations within the small neighborhood was probably the greatest choices he is ever made.

“It is the primary time I bought this far north and it is superb — I drove all the best way from Vancouver to Fort St. John,” he advised Carolina de Ryk, the host of CBC’s Dawn North.

“It is open vast, flat Greenland right here within the north, whereas in Vancouver we have now town — it [Fort St. John] is a slim, small avenue [city],” he went on.

Al Kontar has labored since 2006 as a advertising insurance coverage supervisor within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) however his immigration standing was put into limbo in 2011 after he misplaced his work allow because of the Syrian warfare.

He stayed within the UAE as an unlawful immigrant — till he was caught by native authorities in 2017 and deported to Malaysia, a rustic that accepts Syrians with out visas.

However the Malaysian authorities solely granted Al Kontar a three-month vacationer visa. He tried to fly to different international locations however was rejected and despatched again to Kuala Lumpur.

As a refugee caught on the airport with nowhere to go, Al Kontar went on social media to share his private story.

“I can not return to Syria … for my political beliefs,” he mentioned. “I didn’t complain. I defined. I didn’t cry. I simply tried to point out folks that Syrians … are nonetheless an informed, expert individuals who love life and who simply wish to be in a spot with their fundamental human rights, a spot the place they’ll name dwelling, a spot the place they are going to be completely secure and authorized, the place they’ll work and show themselves,” he mentioned on the time.

Al Kontar says Canada is not an ideal nation however dwelling right here for the final two years is a dream come true.

“I lived below completely different kinds and shapes of dictatorship — I am 40 years [old] and I by no means voted in my life.

“It is not about having the very best nation. It is about having a rustic the place they’ve a system the place nobody is above the legislation, the place you will have worth as a human being, the place you will have rights and voice, the place you will have the liberty to imagine and converse.

“What I’ve right here is the unimaginable desires for tens of millions world wide, and that is why I take pleasure in each minute [in Canada],” he mentioned.

Al Kontar will return to the Decrease Mainland in late August after finishing his Fort St. John task.

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