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June 19, 2019

Saudi teen Rahaf Al-Qunun who renounced Islam is granted asylum in Canada

January 13, 2019
Saudi teenager Rahaf Al-Qunun arrives at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Saturday after being offered asylum in Canada. (LARS HAGBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

The 18-year-old Saudi Arabian woman who feared getting murdered by her family for renouncing Islam has been grated asylum in Canada.

Rahaf Al-Qunun, who had flown to Thailand last week and then planned to seek refuge in Australia, drew global attention to her case through a social medial campaign in which she used her smartphone to document her arrival and subsequent detention in Bangkok.

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After initially believing she was heading for Australia, she instead boarded a Friday flight to Toronto. Despite the confusion, she’s thrilled to be in her new home.

“Truly I have never dreamed of this love and support,” Al-Qunun posted on social media. “You are the spark that would motivate me to be a better person.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed his country had accepted the asylum request from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Thailand’s immigration police chief Surachate Hakparn had initially told CNN on Friday that Qunun had been offered asylum by both Australia and Canada. But he later requested that the statement be retracted.

Australian Immigration Minister David Coleman said Australia had been mulling Al-Qunun’s request before Canada stepped up.

“Australia has one of the most generous humanitarian programs in the world, and all applications are considered in accordance with Australian law and procedures,” said Coleman in a statement. “We wish Ms. Al-Qunun all the best for her future in Canada.”

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