January 8, 2019

SAUDI ARABIA: A 18 Year-Old Saudi Woman Fled Her Family After She Left Islam And Faced Death. Barricaded Herself In A Hotel Room In Thailand Begging For Asylum. Thai Court Protected Her. She's Now Under The Protection Of UNHRC.

The Guardian, UK
written by Jamie Fullerton, Kuala Lumpur, and Helen Davidson
Tuesday January 8, 2019

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun was buoyed by thousands of messages during Thai ordeal, says Nourah Alharbi

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, the Saudi Arabian woman who fled her family and is now under UN protection in Thailand, has been sustained through the “terrifying” ordeal by thousands of online messages of support that probably saved her life, a friend has said.

Nourah Alharbi, 20, told the Guardian: “Yesterday, they [social media supporters] made the difference in Rahaf’s life. You saved Rahaf’s life yesterday: the people, the media.”

Speaking on Tuesday morning, Alharbi said Qunun was buoyed when she saw how many messages about her were being posted online. “She couldn’t believe it. Today when I was calling her ... [she said] she can see the thousands of messages, all of them supporting her. She’s terrified and stressed, and when she saw the messages it really made a difference for her.”

Now based in Sydney, Alharbi said she fled Saudi Arabia herself after suffering abuse from her family, and is seeking asylum in Australia. She has kept in close contact with Qunun throughout her ordeal.

She mentioned the case of Dina Ali Lasloom, a 24-year-old Saudi woman who in April 2017 was returned to Saudi Arabia from the Philippines against her will and whose fate is unclear. “She didn’t get that [social media] support and that’s why she’s in Saudi Arabia now – she’s disappeared,” Alharbi said.

On Sunday, Qunun, 18, barricaded herself in a hotel room inside Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport to prevent her forcible return to a family she claimed would kill her, following her renouncing of Islam.

She tweeted about her situation, and the Twitter hashtag #SaveRahaf soon gained support. Supporters demanded she stay in Thailand rather than be returned to Kuwait, the point of her departure, and lobbied governments to offer her asylum.

Alharbi said Qunun was keen to leave the country after hearing reports her father had travelled to Thailand but that she felt safe for the time being. “She called me and said the UN were good and were protecting her,” she said. “Security keep coming and asking about her. She wants to tell everyone that she wants to go outside Thailand – to any safe country.”

Alharbi claimed Australia had cancelled the tourist visa on which Qunun was originally travelling. “I don’t know [the reason] because they’re not answering,” she said. The Australian government is yet to respond to the claim.

Urging people to keep posting messages about Qunun, Alharbi said: “Yesterday we won, but this is not the big winning. We got her out [of the airport] but we win when we get her out from Thailand. And we will, properly.”

Qunun was interviewed by staff from the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR on Tuesday, after they met her on Monday. “It could take several days to process the case and determine next steps,” UNHCR’s Thailand representative Giuseppe de Vincentiis said in a statement. “We are very grateful that the Thai authorities did not send back (Qunun) against her will and are extending protection to her,” he said.

The Australian government said on Tuesday it would “carefully consider” Qunun’s asylum application after the UNHCR process has concluded.

Qunun was detained on arrival at Bangkok and denied entry to Thailand while en route to Australia, where she said she intended to seek asylum. The Guardian confirmed on Monday Qunun had a valid three-month tourist visa for Australia, issued to her Saudi passport.

Qunun said she was abducted after arriving in Bangkok and had her passport confiscated by Saudi Arabian diplomatic staff.

She demanded access to the UNHCR and barricaded herself inside her hotel room in fear she would be forced on to a plane after Kuwait Airways officials had come to her door, but Monday’s 11.15am flight departed without her.

In a short press release distributed to media outside its embassy in Bangkok on Tuesday, the Saudi government said it had not demanded her deportation, adding the case is a “family affair”, but under the “care and attention” of the embassy.

The head of Thailand’s immigration police, General Surachate Hakparn, had previously said Qunun would be sent back to Saudi Arabia because she was “unsafe” without a guardian in Thailand, and claimed she did not have the documentation to go on to Australia.

But late on Monday he promised she would not be deported and agreed to consult the UNCHR. He later said she had been taken to a safe house for her asylum claim to be processed. “If she goes home it will be dangerous for her so Thailand is ready to help,” he told media. “We are working with the foreign affairs ministry and UNHCR and today we will allow her entry to Thailand. UNHCR is now taking care of her and working on her asylum claim.”

Surachate said Qunun’s father and brother had arrived in Bangkok and want to talk to her, but that UN officials would need to approve any such meeting.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs said it was monitoring the case closely. “The claims made by Ms Al-Qunun that she may be harmed if returned to Saudi Arabia are deeply concerning,” a spokesman said on Monday night.

On Tuesday a Department of Home Affairs official told AFP: “Any application by Ms Al-Qunun for a humanitarian visa will be carefully considered once the UNHCR process has concluded.”

Qunun said in a video posted on social media from inside the airport that she was trying to escape from her family because they subjected her to physical and psychological abuse. She has appealed for help from Europe, the US, Canada and Australia.

Her case has brought international attention to the obstacles women face in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom also faces intense scrutiny over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which has renewed criticism of its human rights record.
Yet we hear Muslim women in the West shame non Muslims into praising GENUINE Islamic oppression against Muslim women. Oh, but if this was a Christian family who stopped talking to a gay family member, or chooses not to attend the family member's gay wedding, the left would be ENRAGED and shame that Christian family into hell. The left is shaming Christians all the time. The poor Christian bakery is getting sued again by a transgender because the Left wants to put him out of business after the US Supreme Court favored the Christian bakery. The Left doesn't bother suing Muslim bakeries or Muslim businesses.

Yet, the Marxist Progressive left welcomes Islamic oppression and even defends Islamic oppression of the worst kind. It is legal for us to be gay in America! But you hate Christians because they hurt your feelings? Don't be fooled by the strategic alliance believing the enemy of your enemy is your friend. Because, as is evident in European nations where Islamist were welcomed in droves have taken over swaths of territory and are in government position to make it easier to change laws and have sharia patrol, a gay person would be killed in a no-go zone by the enemy you befriended to get rid of the Christians you hated so much. And there would be no justice for the gay deceased. Do you have a death wish? It's not a lie. I dare openly gay people to walk down the street in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA where it's predominantly Muslim. Christians aren't killing you! Sure. Okay. I understand Christians have hurt your feelings. BUT CHRISTIANS ARE NOT KILLING GAY PEOPLE like Islam is killing gay people! AND IN A predominantly Christian nation IT IS LEGAL TO BE GAY or TRANSGENDER and you have the freedom to screw as many people as you want, whenever you want, however you want. RANT OFF.

UPDATE 1/12/19 at 11:52am: This young woman had to run away to ANOTHER COUNTRY because her Muslim family wanted to KILL HER because she left Islam. This is what would happen if those Muslim women in the West who claim they are NOT OPPRESSED and that they want to wear the hijab or burka. Yeah. Okay. Sure they're being obedient. But if one day they decided not to obey, they won't be allowed to think for themselves and would be killed by their own family. Her family went to hunt her adult ass down in Thailand. I mean, come on! This is not 'extreme' Islam. This is Islam. Where the hell do you think Muslims from all the world go annually for their Islamic pilgrimage? The holiest city for Muslims is Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Okay. Let me put it this way for my gay family around the world to understand. This Aesop Fable below is what I see happening to the gay community, the frog in this story, who has strategically allied with Islam, the scorpion in this story, to get rid of Christians.

The Scorpion and the Frog

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion says, "Because if I do, I will die too."

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp "Why?"

Replies the scorpion: "It's my nature..."

(emphasis mine)
UPDATE 1/12/19 at 4:39pm: I added tweets below.
What was Asia Bibi's crime? A Muslim woman she was working with on the field was disgusted that Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of 5, was offering her water from her cup. So, the Muslim woman made up a story, falsely reported, that Asia Bibi made a derogatory comment about Prophet Muhammad. The Muslim woman's false accusation caused Asia Bibi to be arrested and charged with blasphemy because she OFFENDED Islam. Non-Muslims are considered UNCLEAN. Asia Bibi was acquitted by the Supreme Court in Pakistan after serving 8 YEARS in solitary confinement on death row. Asia Bibi was kept in prison for her own safety after acquittal because a huge Muslim mob was waiting to kill her outside. (emphasis mine)
Violent protests erupted in several cities of the country after a Supreme Court three-judge bench, headed by the CJP, acquitted Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who had earlier been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges by the Lahore High Court (LHC).

Enraged (MUSLIM) mobs had blocked several routes across the country for three days, while at some places they had also set fire to vehicles. The demonstrations resulted in countrywide closure of schools, colleges and universities, as well as cancellation of examinations. (The Express Tribune, 1/13/19)

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