Saudi Arabian woman renounces Islam, seeks asylum in Thailand

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Abideen Muhammed

Rahaf Mohammed Mutlaq Alqunun, 18, at an airport hotel in Bangkok had on Sunday renounced Islam and claimed that her life was in danger from her family in Kuwait.

It was reported that she left the room after the United Nations refugee agency offered her protection. She immediately in her twitter account pleaded for asylum in Canada, the United States, Australia or the UK and is now staying at a Thai government shelter while the UN refugee agency assesses her case.

Ms Mohammed also claimed that her passport was confiscated by Saudi Arabian diplomatic staff after she arrived at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Sunday.

Noura, one of four friends tweeting from Ms Mohammed al-Qunun’s account, told the BBC they knew each other from an online group for Saudi feminists, and that she herself had “escaped” Saudi Arabia because she is “an ex-Muslim”.

Freedom of religion is not legally protected in the kingdom. People who convert to another religion from Islam risk being charged with apostasy – or abandoning their religious beliefs, which is legally punishable by death.

Ms Mohammed is currently in the care of the UN’s refugee agency, who will send her to a third country if she is granted asylum status.

Ms Mohammed’s father, a Saudi government official and her brother have arrived in Thailand, as the Morrison government said it would consider her request.

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