Syrian refugee family names baby Justin as gesture of thanks

Grateful to PM and all Canadians for help

The Doso family’s gratitude to Canada is embodied in the cutest package ever.

Seven-day-old Justin Doso’s name is a thank-you gesture from the Syrian refugee family-of-six to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and all Canadians.

Ahmed Doso, his wife and three sons, lived in a refugee camp in Turkey for a year after fleeing Syria and its civil war. When he submitted his refugee application he had only one destination in mind — Canada.

Justin Trudeau and the country of freedom he leads were big reasons why.

“They saw how he feels about Syria,” says Suaad Al-Aghbari, who is with Red Deer’s Catholic Social Services and translated Ahmed’s Arabic in an interview in their West Park home on Wednesday.

“I saw him as very different than all of the other prime ministers. He said he was going to bring 25,000 Syrians to Canada.”

Ahmed was also impressed that Trudeau met arriving Syrians at the airport and sat down with them for a meal dressed in traditional clothing on another occasion.

“It’s more than like,” he said of his feelings for our prime minister. “I admire him. That’s why I named my son Justin.”

It was a difficult journey reaching Canada. A restaurateur, who owned two restaurants in Damascus, Ahmed had to leave all behind for the sake of his wife, Zehra Elmuhammed, and their children, son Muhammed, 10; twin six-year-old boys, Raddat and Musan; and five-year-old son Sultan.

They regularly heard the blasts of bombs and artillery. Schools had closed and the “kids were always crying,” he said.

In Turkey, they lived in a tent and the camp was so dangerous that Ahmed ventured out alone to get supplies, leaving his wife and children behind for their safety.

After being accepted by Canada as refugees, the family flew to Montreal and a day later were in their new home, Red Deer.

Canada has lived up to their expectations.

“I would like to thank all of the people of Red Deer and how they have helped us,” he says. “We don’t feel we’re strangers. We feel like this is our country.

“We don’t feel different. Most people in Red Deer, as soon as they heard there was a new Syrian family they just helped us with everything they could.

“People are very helpful, smiling faces everywhere. They are so polite to the kids.”

The boys go to school at West Park Elementary School and all are learning English. The boys like their teachers, sports and their new friends.

Ahmed said he hopes to open a restaurant in Red Deer and looks forward to a future where his sons have a good education.

He wants to offer special thanks to Catholic Social Services and its staff, who have helped the family so much, and were by Zehra’s side throughout her pregnancy.

Since December, 31 Syrian refugees families, 168 people in all, have been settled in Red Deer.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

EDMONTON — Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg marched into the middle of… Continue reading

Alleged sex assault victim details struggles in proposed suit against Toronto school

TORONTO — A former student at an all-boys Catholic school in Toronto… Continue reading

Leaders trade accusations of desperation tactics as campaign heads down to wire

OTTAWA — The three main party leaders accused one another of desperation… Continue reading

Probation for some new Alberta bus, truck drivers after Broncos family pressure

EDMONTON — Alberta’s transportation minister says there will be a two-year probationary… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP looking for missing 64-year-old woman

Red Deer RCMP are asking the public to help find a missing… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer Citizens on Patrol monitoring downtown with new program

Volunteers will patrol downtown Red Deer to help keep the city safe.… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Wednesday Red Deer River Naturalists Flower Focus Group Meeting. When: Oct. 16… Continue reading

Meet the candidates running in Red Deer-Mountain View

Each of the candidates running in the Red Deer-Mountain View riding were… Continue reading

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

EDMONTON — Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg marched into the middle of… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels struggle early, fall to Oil Kings

Oil Kings 5 Rebels 1 It’s been a tough stretch for the… Continue reading

Pick ’Em: No clear favourite on Canadian men’s curling scene this season

The days of just one or two Canadian men’s curling teams being… Continue reading

Brooke Henderson hits hole in 1, leads LPGA Shanghai

SHANGHAI — Canada’s Brooke Henderson hit a hole-in-one and shot a tournament… Continue reading

Alleged sex assault victim details struggles in proposed suit against Toronto school

TORONTO — A former student at an all-boys Catholic school in Toronto… Continue reading

Leaders trade accusations of desperation tactics as campaign heads down to wire

OTTAWA — The three main party leaders accused one another of desperation… Continue reading

Most Read