With tears and trepidation, Saudi teen embraces newfound freedom

Source: The Star

By 

More than 10,000 kilometres away from home in Saudi Arabia, Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun pauses when asked about the family from whom she fled.

Then the tears come.

Rahaf Mohammed, shown at the COSTI settlement agency offices on College St. in Toronto, spoke to the Star Monday about the tumultuous few days that led to the Saudi teen being granted refugee status in Canada.
Rahaf Mohammed, shown at the COSTI settlement agency offices on College St. in Toronto, spoke to the Star Monday about the tumultuous few days that led to the Saudi teen being granted refugee status in Canada.  (ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE / TORONTO STAR)

“I felt so sad. It was hard. I didn’t expect my family to disown me,” Rahaf, 18, says during an exclusive interview Monday with the Star and CBC.

Sitting in a small office at a Toronto immigrant settlement agency, the Saudi teen’s voice cracks with emotion as she talks about the family she plotted for years to escape, alleging they subjected her to both physical and mental abuse — and ultimately led to her being granted refuge in Canada.

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