A Saudi teenager granted asylum in Canada is continuing to celebrate her freedom and new home – sharing pictures of red wine and a rolled up cigarette.
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.
After being handed over to the UN refugee agency and resettled to Canada, she has spent her first week in her new home enjoying things that were previously forbidden to her in her conservative homeland.
Earlier this week, she shared a snap of her breakfast as she tried Canadian-style bacon for the first time.
Now, she has shared images of red wine and a lit cigarette as she continues to celebrate her freedom and new home. It is not known if the cigarette was marijuana – which is legal to smoke in Canada.
A Saudi teenager granted asylum in Canada is continuing to celebrate her freedom and new home – sharing pictures of red wine (left) and a rolled up cigarette (right)
Rahaf Mohammed (pictured), 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
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
She captioned the image in Arabic – with words translating as ‘evaporate and evaporate’ – and noted the temperature is a chilly -8C (17F).
She also shared a picture of a glass of red wine, a drink she also enjoyed on the flight to Toronto over the weekend.
Earlier, she posted a video while out walking a dog, captioned: ‘Feeling free’.
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.
Ms Mohammed captured global attention last week after she barricaded herself in an airport hotel room in Bangkok to avoid being sent home to her family.. Her family has denied abuse.
New life: The knee-length dress the teenager wore is far from the covering outfits women are required to wear in Saudi Arabia
Since arriving in Toronto over the weekend, Ms Mohammed has been settling into her new life – including getting winter clothes and phone service.
Meanwhile, 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 on Tuesday.
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.
Ms Mohammed, who has renounced her last name al-Qunun, speaks at the COSTI Corvetti Education Centre in Toronto, Ontario, on Tuesday
The brave 18-year-old said she wants to help other women flee Saudi Arabia as it’s revealed she’ll have round-the-clock security
Ms Mohammed, accompanied by Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, right, and Saba Abbas, general counsellor of COSTI refugee service agency, left, arrives in Toronto, Ontario, on Saturday
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.
New style: Ms Mohammed has begun adapting to life in Canada after being granted asylum, with a photo showing her all bundled up in a winter jacket and woolly hat
Before: The teenager, pictured with her 12-year-old sister, said it had upset her that her family had announced they had disowned her ‘simply because I wanted to escape their abuse’
From her personal Twitter account, Ms Mohammed thanked everyone for their support, saying she had never ‘dreamed of this love’
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.’
Canada is now the new home for Saudi refugee Ms Mohammed, after the country responded to a request by the UNHCR
The 18-year-old was detained in Thailand following her arrival in the country. She is pictured having barricaded herself in an airport hotel room in a bid to avoid deportation