Young Saudi woman arrives in Toronto following global Twitter campaign to grant her asylum

Young Saudi woman arrives in Toronto following global Twitter campaign to grant her asylum
Wearing a “Canada” hoodie and smiling, Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun emerged from the arrivals gate at Pearson Airport Saturday after her long journey fleeing an allegedly abusive family.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland walked out with her arm around the 18-year-old, calling her a “brave new Canadian.”

“This is Rahaf Alqunun,” Freeland said, “And she wants Canadians to see that she’s arrived at her new home. But she’s had a very long and tiring journey and so she would prefer not to take questions today. So please respect that. She’s a brave young woman who’s been through a lot and she is now going to go to her new home.”

She then escorted Alqunun back into the gated arrivals area.

The young woman fled her family while visiting Kuwait and flew to Bangkok, where she barricaded herself in an airport hotel and launched a Twitter campaign that drew global attention to her case.

Alqunun says her father physically abused her and tried to force her into an arranged marriage.

Her father, who arrived in Bangkok not long before she left for Canada, has denied those allegations.

Her flight from Seoul, South Korea, landed a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his government would accept Alqunun as a refugee.

“It was a pleasure for me this morning to welcome to her new home a very brave new Canadian,” Freeland told reporters at the airport. “She is obviously very tired after a long journey and she prefers to go and get settled.

“It was Rahaf’s choice to come out and say hello to Canadians. She wanted Canadians to see that she’s here, that she’s well and that she’s very, very happy to be in her new home. Although she did comment to me about the cold.”
Read more on Toronto Star
News Topics :
Similar Articles :
Top Stories
TORONTO — A Saudi teen described as a “brave new Canadian” by an official from the government that granted her refugee status as she fled her allegedly abusive family is...
Top Stories
More than 10, 000 kilometres away from home in Saudi Arabia, Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun pauses when asked about the family from whom she fled. Then the tears come. Sitting in a...
The Canadian wife of imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi said she isn’t worried Ottawa’s decision to take in teen refugee Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun will hurt her husband’s case, despite speculation...
Top Stories
If Canada were a proud and principled beacon unto the world’s most downtrodden, as so many so often claim, then one might have expected Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun to arrive at...
BANGKOK—A Saudi asylum seeker who fled alleged abuse by her family is leaving Bangkok on Friday and will fly to Canada, Thailand’s immigration police chief said. Police Chief Surachate Hakparn...