Obama calls Troy-bound Syrian refugee an ‘inspiration’

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

President Barack Obama reached out on Facebook Wednesday night to welcome a Syrian refugee who recently learned he will be resettled in Troy.

President Barack Obama reached out on Facebook Wednesday night to welcome a Syrian refugee who recently learned he will be resettled in Troy.

“As a husband and a father, I cannot even begin to imagine the loss you have endured. You and your family are an inspiration,” Obama commented in a Facebook post that had been shared more than 405,000 times as of Thursday afternoon.

“I know that the great people of Michigan will embrace you with the compassion and support you deserve. Yes, you can still make a difference in the world, and we’re proud that you’ll pursue your dreams here. Welcome to your new home. You’re part of what makes America great.”

The unidentified Syrian scientist was featured in a Tuesday series of posts by the blog Humans of New York. Sixteen died in the bombing of his home two years ago. Seven victims were members of his family, including his wife, he told the blog.

“My daughter was in the house too. She still has shrapnel in her neck. We survived, but we’re dead psychologically. Everything ended for us that day,” the scientist is quoted as saying.

He and his family have lived in Turkey for two years, and he is suffering from stomach cancer, he says.

President Barack Obama welcomed a Syrian refugee headed to Troy, Michigan on a Humans of New York Facebook post.

The scientist said hopes to patent several inventions once he arrives in the United States. One of his designs is being used on the Istanbul metro to generate electricity from the movement of trains, he says.

“I just want a place to do my research. I learned today that I’m going to Troy, Michigan. I know nothing about it. I just hope that it’s safe and that it’s a place where they respect science,” he says.

“I just want to get back to work. I want to be a person again. I don’t want the world to think I’m over. I’m still here.”

mburke@detroitnews.com

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