A complicated issue: Canadians weigh in on Rahaf Mohammed's swift arrival here


Saudi Arabian teen Rahaf Mohammed fled from her allegedly abusive and religiously oppressive family while on a trip to Kuwait earlier this month.

Mohammed has said that she faced “physical violence, persecution, oppression” and death threats in Saudi Arabia.

She was granted legal asylum in Canada within days of barricading herself inside a Bangkok,
Thailand hotel room to avoid being forcibly taken back to her home country by her family, and has been here since Jan. 12.

Canadians, from political pundits to journalists to regular citizens to anonymous online trolls, have had some time to assess her case, and share their opinions online.

While social media helped Mohammed get here, the platform also gives voice to people who are critical of how the process unfolded.

Saudi Teen Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun’s New Life in Canada

Sun columnist Lorne Gunter referred to Mohammed as a “useful prop for Liberals” in an article on Jan. 15.

Others, like Star columnist Thomas Walkom and Globe and Mail contributor H.A. Hellyer have argued that Mohammed’s quick asylum approval exposes Canada’s subjectivity in looking at refugees.

Muslim Canadians have criticized Mohammed, too. One woman filmed herself viciously insulting the teen for leaving her family and Saudi Arabia, where people have been executed for renouncing Islam.

Still, she has a large base of supporters, from the institutions and organizations that worked to bring her here, to scores of strangers offering support online.

In a blog entry on HuffPost Canada, Jerry Dias, national president of trade union Unifor, argued that Canadians should be inspired by Mohammed’s efforts to remove herself from an oppressive and possibly dangerous situation, not condemn them.

What do you think? Let us know by responding to the poll above of have your say in the comments below.n