Montreal

Fadwa Alaoui, Canadian turned away at U.S. border, gets visit from Vermont strangers showing support

Last week, Fadwa Alaoui was headed to Vermont for some shopping and to buy a toy for son who had recently completed chemotherapy. She was turned away at the U.S. border. This weekend, one Vermont physician decided to pay her a visit, toys in hand.

'It felt like someone had treated my neighbour badly,' says Vermonter who drove to Brossard with wife and kids

Fadwa Alaoui and her husband Hamid Adlaoui made tea and put out a nice spread for their American guests. 'It's the Moroccan way,' Alaoui said, and it's 'also [the] Canadian way,' Adlaoui added. (CBC)

Last week, Fadwa Alaoui, a resident of the Montreal suburb of Brossard, was turned away at the U.S. border after being questioned about her Muslim faith and her views on Donald Trump.

The Moroccan-born Canadian citizen was headed to Vermont to do some shopping, which included buying a toy for her five-year-old son Youssef who had recently completed chemotherapy.

The incident, which has since made international news, did not sit well with one Vermont physician.

"I guess it felt like someone had treated my neighbour badly," said Andy Solomon. "I imagined poor Youssef waiting for hours while they're interrogating his mom."

Andy Solomon, his wife Rebecca Starks and their two kids drove 2 hours in the snow from Burlington to Brossard to visit Fadwa Alaoui and her family.

Solomon got in touch with CBC after reading Alaoui's story. Like any good neighbour, he wanted to ask Alaoui if it was OK for him to drop by and offer some support.

On Saturday, Solomon did just that. 

He loaded up the Subaru with his wife Rebecca Starks and their two kids, and after a two-hour drive through the snow from Burlington to Brossard, they were breaking bread with the Alaoui and her family.

They came bearing gifts, including the action figures Fadwa wanted to buy for Youssef last week.
Solomon and Starks brought action figures for 5-year-old Youssef, a gift Fadwa Alaoui wanted to buy her son in the U.S. last week after he completed his chemo treatments. (CBC)

"I was very happy," Alaoui said, "it touched my heart."

Alaoui and her husband, Hamid Adlaoui, welcomed their American neighbours with tea and a nice spread.

"That's the way how we do it, it's the Moroccan way," she said with a laugh, before her husband added that it was "also [the] Canadian way."

Alaoui and her family now have an open invitation to visit Solomon and his family in Vermont, and just the day before, a Vermont city clerk invited her to Montpelier for a tour and lunch.

But Alaoui, whose parents and brother also live in the U.S., isn't ready to make the trip across the border just yet. 

"I'm really worried because I have family there and I don't want to have the same experience there another time when I cross the border," she said.

Alaoui says she wants the federal government to clear up her case first.

In the meantime, Andy Solomon says they're welcome to drop his name if it helps.

"Just say you're visiting friends," he said.

"We're friends now."

After driving from Burlington to Brossard to visit the Alaoui and her family, Andy Solomon says the two families are now friends. (CBC)

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