August 6, 2019 11:01 pm
Updated: August 7, 2019 9:54 am

Syrian refugee stranded in Malaysian airport for months wants to bring 200 refugees to Canada

WATCH: (Aired Nov. 27, 2018) A Syrian man who spent seven months stranded in a Malaysian airport has finally made it to Vancouver, with a little help from his many friends. Nadia Stewart has the story.


A former Syrian refugee is trying to pay it forward in a big way.

Hassan Al Kontar received international attention after he spent seven months stranded in an airport in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

His story was compared to the 2004 film The Terminal, in which Tom Hanks portrayed a man from a fictional eastern European country who was trapped in an airport without a country.

Story continues below

Al Kontar finally left Malaysia in November 2018 after a Canadian charity helped him relocate to B.C.

READ MORE: A Syrian refugee has spent 50 days stranded in Malaysian airport. B.C. group wants to bring him to Canada

Now he hopes to help up to 250 refugees relocate from two islands in the South Pacific to Canada.

“Eight-hundred-fifty souls, including 24 women, are suffering since six years without a proper trial,” Al Kontar said.

“They are desperate.”

They are asylum seekers on Manus Island in northern Papua New Guinea, and the island nation of Nauru. They were forced there, says the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, by the Australian government.

Al Kontar is working with the charity that helped him escape, along with immigration settlement agency MOSAIC, to privately sponsor up to 250 refugees.

WATCH: (April 27, 2018) B.C. group tries to free trapped Syrian refugee

“We are hoping to raise $3.3 million and hopefully more to be able to resettle refugees,” MOSAIC’s Saleem Spindari said.

While there is no guarantee the applications will be approved, Al Kontar is nothing but hopeful.

“There is a hero inside each one of us,” he said. “We just need to find it.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.