Fearing for Saudi teen rahaf’s safety, Canada refugee agency hires guard

Fearing for Saudi teen's safety, Canada refugee agency hires guard

TORONTO (Reuters) Amid threats to the safety of Saudi teenager Rahaf Muhammad, who was granted asylum in Canada, the Toronto agency that is helping her has hired a security guard to ensure “she is never alone” as she starts a normal life, its executive director said on (15th Jan) Tuesday.

Rahaf Mohammed, made international headlines after she barricaded herself in an airport hotel room in Thailand’s capital Bangkok to avoid being sent home to her family due to fears of being harmed or killed. The family denies any abuse.

She has received multiple threats online that have made her fear for her safety, said Mario Calla, executive director of Costi, a refugee agency contracted by the Canadian government to help her settle in Toronto.

Costi has hired a security guard and plans to make sure she is never alone, Calla told reporters. It’s hard to say how serious these threats are. We’re taking them seriously.

Rahaf Muhammad, who has renounced her family name al-Qunun, gave a public statement in Toronto on Tuesday 15th January that was read on her behalf in English by a settlement worker.

I understand that everyone here and around the world wishes me well and would like to continue to hear about how I am doing, but I would like to start living a normal life, just like other teen ager living in Canada, she said in the statement read by Saba Abbas.

Rahaf Muhammad thanked the Canadian and Thai governments and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for making her move to Canada possible.

She said, I am one of the lucky ones. I know that there are unlucky women who disappeared after trying to escape or who could not do anything to change their reality.

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Bernadette Baum)