Syrian family names newest son after Justin Trudeau

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Syrian family names newest son after Justin Trudeau

The baby's name was going to be patriotically Canadian, no matter the gender.

So, when Tarfa Ali Al Shheida gave birth to her newest son last month in Windsor, Ont., she named him Justin, in a salute to the country's prime minister.

Al Shheida and her husband Yeyha Al Jaafar say Justin Trudeau is the man responsible for opening the country's arms to them and 40,000 other Syrian refugees.

If little Justin had been a girl, the happy couple was prepared to name her Canada.

"No matter what we say, or no matter how many kids we name after this country, it won't be enough for how our lives have changed," Al Jaafar told CBC News. "We love Canada, it's our home, and we are so thankful."

Officials from the Prime Minister's Office say the prime minister appreciated the tribute, according to a statement issued Tuesday.

"The gesture is certainly very touching," the statement said. "We are proud, as a government, of fulfilling our commitment and welcoming over 40,000 Syrian refugees to Canada."

Other Syrian families have had similar inspiration after having children in Canada. Hussam Eddin Alahmad and his wife Sherin named their son Justin after arriving in North York in early January.

"We find here humanity towards all people, they accept all cultures here," Alahmad told CBC News in a recent interview. "And we love Prime Minister Justin Trudeau."

Al Shheidal's latest pregnancy was by far the most difficult for her. She's had three children, but never have her pregnancies been so challenging. She was diagnosed with diabetes and asthma during her pregnancy. 

"I'm not sure why, maybe because of everything that happened," she said of her complications. "The labour was difficult as well."

But there was never any question about the patriotic name she gave her son. The family chose Justin the moment they knew of the pregnancy.

"He's the one who helped us, who brought us here. He's the reason we are alive," Al Shheidal said. "Here is where we can live the best life. No other person did this for us, since the war started in Syria."

The family says they have also been welcomed by Canadians. They feel right at home in Windsor. 

"We want to thank the Government of Canada, and the people of Canada for being so welcoming and great to us," Al Jaafar said. "We can't thank you enough, and so we hope you will take this name as a small token of our appreciation."