When actor, and former White House aide, Kal Penn was told on Instagram that he didn't belong in the US, he launched a crowdfunding campaign in the troll's name and raised more than $500,000 (£400,000) for Syrian refugees.

The crowdfunding page 'Donating to Syrian refugees in the name of the dude who said I don't belong in America' raised $500,000 for the International Rescue Committee in just 48 hours.

Penn tweeted the racist comment, which appeared on his Instagram account, on 28 January: "You don't belong in this country you f***ing joke". Born to Indian parents in New Jersey, he wrote on the fundraising page: "We are better than the hateful people who tell us we don't belong in our own country, that America can't be a beacon of freedom and hope for refugees from around the world. We will turn their bigotry, along with the President's, into love."

The star of comedy series Harold & Kumar originally set his fundraising target at $1,500 but the figure now sits at $509,160 after donations began to flood in, with more than $10,000 dollars raised in the first hour. Many people donated in Vice-President Mike Pence's name.

In 2009, Penn joined the Obama administration as an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement, which put a halt to his acting career and role in award-winning medical drama House.

Kal Penn
Actor Kal Penn set up a crowdfunding page for refugees after he was told on Twitter 'you don't belong in this country' Reuters

Penn, who later served as Barack Obama's Associate Director of Public Engagement – before a return to acting in 2010 – said the response was a "testament to how proud we are of our beautiful country and how fired up we are to resist our new president's dangerous policies with solidarity and love".

All donations will go to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) which launched its first-ever emergency appeal for refugees already living in the US. The $5m appeal will provide housing, healthcare and education to refugees detained upon entering the country following President Trump's immigration ban.

IRC President David Miliband said on Twitter: "Refugees are not the enemy of America; they are part of its heart and soul."

A statement from the IRC read: "Lives are at stake and history will judge us based on what we do in this moment to save innocent refugees who are depending on our decisive action."