Canada : A Syrian refugee who was stranded in Malaysian airport for 7 months has finally landed up in Canada. The refugee’s story is like any other story of refugee immigrating to other lands, with harrowing experiences and bizarre ordeal they face.
Syrian refugee stranded in Malaysian Airport for Months
The Syrian man identified as Al Kontar, got stuck in Kuala Lumpur International Airport in March after his Malaysian tourist visa got expired and he was not allowed to board a flight to another country.
Kontar, 37, who left Syria before that country’s civil war erupted in 2011, had worked in the United Arab Emirates for several years but had to leave after his visa ran out. He said he could not return to his homeland because he refused to serve in the military.
Syrian refugee finally lands up in Canada
During his months in Terminal 2 of the Kuala Lumpur airport, he lived off airline meals while trying to find a country that would give him a visa and documenting his travails to thousands of followers online.
He showed himself knitting, and celebrated when the sun peeked through the window or when, momentarily, a few fluorescent lights went off.
Al Kontar’s condition caught the eyes of Canadians who sought to privately sponsor him as a refugee.
Canadian sponsor helps Syrian refugee
“When we noticed he had this issue, he was stranded in the Malaysian airpot and no place to go, nobody is accepting him, I offered: ‘We have space. We can bring him in to sponsor him,’ said Shawkat Hassan, with British Columbia’s Muslim Association, which helped sponsor Kontar.
Syrian refugee gets paperwork done
The paperwork took months. During that time, Kontar was taken into Malaysian immigration detention and threatened with deportation to Syria.
On Monday night, he arrived at Vancouver International Airport wearing flip-flops and a T-shirt. He became a permanent resident on landing in Canada because the country had already recognized him as a refugee.
Syrian refugee now in Canada
His sponsor, Laurie Cooper drove him to her home in Whistler, British Columbia, where he is staying until he gets his bearings.
Kontar was too excited on his arrival to Canada. The moment he stepped out of the airport, he took a deep breathe of the surroundings, of his new found freedom.