Father of Drowned Toddler Delivers Christmas Message

He urges world to open its doors to Syrians
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2015 11:14 AM CST

In Britain, the "alternative" Christmas message on Channel 4 has become almost as much of a tradition as the Queen's message, and this year it was delivered by the father of drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi. Abdullah Kurdi also lost his wife and 5-year-old son Galeb when their boat capsized minutes into an attempted crossing to Greece. "My message is, I’d like the whole world to open its doors to Syrians," Kurdi says after recounting the struggles faced by his family and so many others. "If a person shuts a door in someone's face, this is very difficult. When a door is opened, they no longer feel humiliated."

Images of Kurdi's 3-year-old son lifeless on a Turkish beach shocked the world in September. "We Syrians leave our country due to war; we are all afraid for our children, for our honor," he says. "At this time of year I would like to ask you all to think about the pain of fathers, mothers, and children who are seeking peace and security." Kurdi buried his wife and children in his hometown, Kobani, and now lives in Iraqi Kurdistan, the New York Times reports. He has said that he wants to help children and that he hopes to harness some of the interest in his story to start a school and hospital for Syrian Kurds. (Previous presenters of the alternative message have included Sharon Osbourne, Jesse Jackson, a 9/11 survivor, the Simpsons, and Edward Snowden.)

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