Rahaf Mohammed, 18, fled Saudi Arabia fearing for her life. After spending two weeks in Thailand, including time spent barricaded in a hotel room in Bangkok trying to avoid being sent home to her family, she was granted asylum in Canada, arriving there this past weekend. Now, she is enjoying all of what life in the West has to offer.
Since arriving in Toronto, Canada, last weekend, Mohammed has begun buying winter clothes, opting not to follow traditional Saudi dress codes.
She has shared images on social media of some of her first-time experiences, such as enjoying some Canadian bacon and coffee from Starbucks.
According to a report by the Daily Mail, while Mohammed has embraced her new life, she is also contending with death threats. As a result, the refugee agency that assisted her has hired a security guard to protect her.
Mario Calla, Cost Immigrant Services’ executive director, said Mohammed had been threatened several times online, and the security guard was hired to ensure “she is never alone.”
“She sees these threats,” said Calla. “She has left Islam, and she basically has broken away from her family, and that scares her.”
The agency has also helped Mohammed by securing temporary housing and assisting her with health card applications.
During a press conference, Mohammed thanked the Thai and Canadian governments, along with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
“I am one of the lucky ones,” she said in a statement. “I know there are unlucky women who disappeared after trying to escape or who could not do anything to change their reality.”
Mohammed fled her family during a visit to Kuwait. She flew to Bangkok, aiming to fly to Australia and request asylum.
However, Mohammed was denied entry into Thailand. She chose to barricade herself in a hotel room and began tweeting about her experience, amassing a strong following online.
The Thai government soon granted her entry and the UN refugee agency started seeking out a home for her. Upon learning that Canada granted her asylum, she said the “stress I felt over the last week melted away.”