Saudi teen granted asylum in Canada makes the most of her new life – eating BACON for breakfast and grabbing a Starbucks coffee with her legs exposed.
The Saudi teenager granted asylum in Canada is defiantly enjoying her newfound freedom in the West – by trying bacon for the first time and going for Starbucks coffee with bare legs.
Rahaf Mohammed, who has renounced her last name al-Qunun after her family disowned her, captured global attention last week after she barricaded herself in an airport hotel room in Bangkok.
The 18-year-old did so in a bid to avoid being sent home to her family, saying she feared for her life. Her family has denied abuse.
A new life: Rahaf Mohammed, 18, posted a picture of her breakfast accompanied with bacon and heart-emojis and a Canadian flag, and a cup of Starbucks coffee
Since arriving in Toronto over the weekend, Ms Mohammed has been settling into her new life – including getting winter clothes and phone service.
And she’s also been enjoying the freedoms she wasn’t able to when living in the conservative kingdom.
On Tuesday, she shared a picture on Snapchat of her breakfast of Canadian-style bacon and eggs captioned ‘Omg bacon’ with heart emojis and the Canada flag.
She also shared a picture of her morning coffee from Starbucks, with her knee-length grey wool dress that show off her bare legs also visible in the snap.
The images of the teenager embracing her new life in Canada come as the refugee agency helping her settle in Toronto revealed it has hired a security guard amid threats to her safety.
Mario Calla, the executive director of Costi Immigrant Services, which has been contracted by the Canadian government to help Ms Mohammed, said she has received multiple threats online.
Mr Calla said he has hired a security guard to ensure ‘she is never alone,’ adding that the agency is taking the threats seriously.
‘She sees these threats. She has left Islam and she basically has broken away from her family, and that scares her,’ he added.
The agency is helping her settle in temporary housing and apply for a health card.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Ms Mohammed thanked the Canadian and Thai governments as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
‘I am one of the lucky ones,’ she said in a statement read on her behalf by a settlement worker.
‘I know there are unlucky women who disappeared after trying to escape or who could not do anything to change their reality.’
Ms Mohammed arrived in Canada over the weekend after a week in limbo in Bangkok.
She fled her family while visiting Kuwait and flew to Bangkok, with the intention of flying on to Australia to seek asylum last week.
But after she was denied entry into Thailand, she barricaded herself in a hotel room to avoid deportation and began tweeting – quickly amassing a huge following.
Thai authorities eventually allowed her to enter the country and the UN refugee agency began to seek a home for her.
She said that when she learned she had been granted asylum in Canada, the ‘stress I felt over the last week melted away.’
Ms Mohammed also said in her press conference that she wants to work in support of freedom for women around the world.
‘Today and for years to come, I will work in support of freedom for women around the world,’ she said.
‘The same freedom I experienced on the first day I arrived in Canada.’
But she added that her first priority is to learn English.
She said she wants to be independent, travel and make her own decisions on education, on a career and who she will marry.
‘I had no say in any of this. Today I can proudly say that I am capable of making all those decisions,’ she said.
Her plight has drawn attention to Saudi Arabia’s strict social rules, including a requirement that women have the permission of a male ‘guardian’ to travel.
She said that women in Saudi Arabia ‘can’t be independent and they need the approval of their male guardian for everything.
‘Any woman who thinks of escaping, or escapes, will be at risk of persecution.’
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