Syrian refugees in Canada name their baby Justin Trudeau

'He’s the first Canadian. He got his citizenship before us!' says mother

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The Independent US

A Syrian couple who fled war-ravaged Damascus to start a new life in Canada have named their newborn son Justin Trudeau in honour of the Prime Minister’s open refugee policy.

Muhammad and Afraa Bilan arrived in Montreal in February of last year in the midst of Canada’s bitterly cold winter accompanied by their daughter Naya, who is 4, and their son Nael who is 3.

The parents expressed their tremendous gratitude to Mr Trudeau’s refugee initiative which has seen over 40,000 Syrian refugees resettled in Canada. 

Afraa Bilan told The Star“We love this man, we appreciate him. He helped a lot of refugees. He’s the reason we are in Canada.”

Justin Trudeau Adam Bilan came into the world on Thursday in Calgary - a city near the Canadian Rockies the family have relocated to which is home to around 1,000 Syrian refugees. The parents hope that their son will one day get to meet his namesake.

While Ms Bilan admitted it was initially hard to adapt to life in Canada due to language barriers and sub-zero temperatures, she said they were overjoyed to have escaped war and welcomed their first Canadian son into the world.

She said: “He’s the first Canadian. He got his citizenship before us!” 

The family’s opportunity to flee war-torn Syria came five years into the atrocities of the war. Upon learning Canada was starting to take in Syrian refugees after Mr Trudeau became Prime Minister, they leapt at the chance to leave.

More than 40,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Canada since Mr Trudeau took office in November 2015. 

After President Donald Trump sought to introduce his hard-line immigraton ban, Mr Trudeau vocally restated the country’s open-door refugee policy. “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength," he wrote on Twitter.

What’s more, in December 2015, the Canadian leader personally welcomed the first planeload of Syrian refugees in the flesh at Toronto airport and was seen handing out winter coats.

A year later, the politician broke down in tears when he was reunited with one of the refugees he had welcomed into Canada. In total, roughly 12.5 million Syrians - six out of 10 - are displaced from their homes.