B.C. mayor 'honoured' recipient of first haircut by Alan Kurdi's uncle

VANCOUVER -- A Syrian refugee is finding comfort in his new homeland through the use of universal tools -- barber scissors and an electric trimmer.

See Full Article

Mohammed Kurdi gave his first haircut in Canada to the mayor of his city, an honour the politician and Kurdi's sister say symbolizes a fresh start for the family of a drowned Syrian boy.

Mayor Richard Stewart of Coquitlam, B.C., was Kurdi's first customer this week at a salon opened by Tima Kurdi, the aunt of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, whose body washed up on a Turkish beach last September.

A week after members of the Kurdi family arrived in British Columbia, Stewart requested a cut from Mohammed Kurdi as a gesture of welcome and support.

Kurdi had worked as a barber for 15 years in Syria, but officials stopped him from offering his services in a refugee camp in the Middle East.

"It seemed obvious to me he took comfort in those tools in his hands, Stewart said Friday. "He probably doesn't have many in his day to day, these days. But those tools were familiar.

"I just saw such hope in his face. He said, 'I want to work. Thank you all for your support, but I don't want to be reliant on the help of others.'

"We were both incredibly honoured, I think. I was deeply honoured to have him cut my hair."

Kurdi, his wife and their five children arrived in British Columbia on Dec. 28 and were sponsored by Tima Kurdi, who has become an unofficial spokeswoman for people fleeing war-torn Syria. The family has been showered in media attention after a photo of their lifeless nephew sparked international sorrow about the humanitarian crisis.

The little boy died alongside his five-year-old brother and their mother while crossing the waters between Turkey and Greece.

The case took on special resonance in Canada. Alan's father, Abdullah Kurdi, attempted the treacherous journey when his brother Mohammed's original refugee application was rejected by the Canadian government. Not all the necessary documents were included.

Tima and Mohammed opened their new salon, Kurdi Hair Design, in Port Coquitlam on Tuesday. The man's children have started school and volunteers are planning to provide them tours of city hall, the police station, parks and recreation venues and the library.

Tima Kurdi, who translates for her brother, said Mohammed felt "proud" to cut the mayor's hair. His next goal is to learn to speak English so he can chat with their clients, she said.

"He said to me, 'Hopefully the next time they come back, in six weeks or a month, I'm going to say, 'Wow, nice to see you again,"' she said in an interview Friday. "I said, 'Take it step by step, and you're doing really, really good."'

Stewart said Mohammed Kurdi didn't want to accept the $24 payment and substantial tip for the cut, but he left the money with them as he departed. He described Kurdi's skills as meticulous and focused.

"He's obviously a very experienced barber. I came away with a pretty good haircut. And a really nice moment to share with them."

The Canadian government has pledged to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada by the end of February, and 6,974 people had arrived by Jan. 6.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Moroccan premier forms government, ending 5-month crisis

    World News CTV News
    RABAT, Morocco -- Morocco's new Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani has succeeded in building a governing coalition, ending a five-month political deadlock after just eight days in office. El Othmani, 61, of the Islamist Party for Justice and Development, or PJD, announced Saturday in a press conference in Rabat that an "agreement has been reached" with six political parties to form a coalition government. Source
  • Congolese militia decapitates more than 40 police officers

    World News CTV News
    BENI, Congo -- A Congolese militia group has decapitated 42 policemen after ambushing them in an increasingly violent region where the U.N. is searching for missing American and Swedish investigators, a local official said Saturday. Source
  • Suspect in fatal shooting on Las Vegas Strip surrenders after standoff

    World News CBC News
    The suspect in a fatal shooting on the Las Vegas Strip on Saturday surrendered to police after barricading himself inside a bus. The standoff began after a report of shots fired on Las Vegas Boulevard in the heart of the Strip. Source
  • Suspect shooting at passing trucks on B.C. highway: RCMP

    Canada News CTV News
    PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. -- RCMP say they've received numerous calls from truck drivers reporting that someone shot at their vehicles on a B.C. highway. Police say the incidents occurred over an eight-hour period starting Friday night on Highway 97 between Houston and 100 Mile House in the province's central and northern Interior. Source
  • 1 dead on Vegas Strip shooting, gunman barricaded on bus

    World News CTV News
    LAS VEGAS -- A gunman barricaded himself inside a bus Saturday along the Las Vegas Strip after a shooting that left one person dead, officials said. The attack prompted a partial closure of the busy boulevard. Source
  • Security, parking, garbage irk Ivanka Trump's D.C. neighbours

    World News CBC News
    ?Residents of a posh Washington neighbourhood say Ivanka Trump and her family don't make for very good neighbours, taking up much of the parking on an already crowded street and leaving trash bags at the curb for days. Source
  • Liberals must sell budget to premiers after 'challenging' health talks

    Canada News CBC News
    Liberal MPs stuck around Ottawa on a rare Saturday to hammer out a plan to sell their recent budget to the public in the coming weeks, but the government also will have to move past the bruising experienced during the health accord negotiations to get the premiers on board. Source
  • Elderly couple flying to Michigan taken to wrong gate, end up in N.Y.

    World News Toronto Sun
    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A 96-year-old woman and an 89-year-old man were wheeled to the wrong gate at a South Florida airport and ended up on a flight to upstate New York instead of Michigan. Helen Wheeker and her husband, George Nobel, ended up Ogdensburg, N.Y. Source
  • Self-driving Uber SUV hits vehicle in Arizona

    World News Toronto Sun
    TEMPE, Ariz. — Officials say a self-driving Uber SUV was operating on its own when it was struck by another vehicle making a left turn at an intersection in Arizona, where the company is testing autonomous vehicles. Source
  • Woman ordered to return dog after taking off with pair of pooches post-breakup

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- A woman who took off with two dogs she had shared with her ex-boyfriend has been ordered to return one of the pooches after a bitter ownership dispute. Matthew MacDonald told a Nova Scotia small claims court that he purchased the Yorkshire terriers while he was living with his "on-again, off-again" girlfriend Brittany Pearl in Fort McMurray, Alta. Source