Saudi Teenager Continues Standoff In Thailand In Seeking Asylum

There remains confusion in Thailand over the fate of Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, who is seeking asylum after renouncing Islam and refusing to be treated as chattel under the medieval laws of Saudi Arabia. We have previously discussed the sexist and repressive laws imposed on women in the Kingdom, making adult women effective wards of male family members, including younger siblings or family members. Since the Saudis kill people for apostasy, the fear of this young woman is real and immediate. She is deserving of asylum and the United States should show that it truly believes in women’s rights and step forward to give her protection against our Saudi allies.

Thai officials seem to be struggling with the pressure from the Saudi government and have retracted earlier statements about Qunun being granted asylum. Thai officials seemed to be initially unresponsive and unhelpful to the woman who fled her family on a visit to Kuwait. She is seeking asylum in both Australia and Canada.

Qunun barricaded herself in a hotel to prevent being sent back to Saudi Arabia when Thai officials reportedly failed to assist her in her asylum claim. Authorities eventually allowed her access to the UNHCR and did not deport her to Kuwait.

She has also mentioned the United States as a country for asylum. Accepting her would sent a message to Saudi Arabia that we care about the rights of women and girls in the Kingdom. We have lost considerable standing in the world with our accommodation of Saudi Arabia after it murdered a journalist and then lied repeatedly about it.

Qunan has both religious and gender discrimination claims that present a serious concern over her safety if returned to Saudi Arabia.

29 thoughts on “Saudi Teenager Continues Standoff In Thailand In Seeking Asylum”

    1. Sounds bad.

      I seen that pneumonia crap 1st hand last spring with someone here that was decades younger & I wondered if they’d live through it, they did.

      I guess in the end we’ll all be taken out by something, until then make the best of it with everyone.

      1. Pneumonia is scary. It can lead to respiratory failure, especially in the elderly. I’ve seen it. It’s death by slowly, inch by inch, smothering. Once it passes a certain point, and cascades, it can be all but unstoppable. It’s like drowning on dry land.

        I don’t agree with Justice Gainsberg’s politics, but I am sorry she is ill. She is a very intelligent woman who accomplished a great deal in her life.

        It troubles me how there is such intense politization of the timing of a justice’s retirement. I wish that more judges would not apply personal politics, follow the constitution, stay out of the media, and not legislate from the bench. If bias was left at the door, and judges did not legislate by ruling, then perhaps there would not be such a circus around SCOTUS. It was shocking what happened to Kavanaugh, for political purposes. Whenever we seat a new Supreme Court Justice, I really hope there will be no more political warfare on the poor candidate.

  1. Farang life is good, not as good as it used to be but good. At 73 I’m still a hansum young man, as long as I have a wallet full of baht…lol. In Pattaya at certain places at certain times there is little clothing worn…lol. It’s not nicknamed Sin City for no reason. Rather that is ah so I’ve heard. I’ll be there week after next for a reunion with an old buddy from way back in my “One month millionaire” days. That was back in early 2000’s BM, Before Marriage.

    The young lady is free and on her way to Canada. Thailand made a few mistakes but in the end everything worked out and kudos to Canada.

  2. According to BBC News she is now on the way to Canada.

    Unlike the fate of another Saudi 18 year old woman…

    1. Generationally taught evil is difficult to overcome. Sometimes there are long customs, in many countries, that seem perfectly normal to them but are clearly abhorrent to us.

      My father witnessed the beheading of two gay men in Chop Chop Square. It deeply affected him, and formed his opinion on the culture. It is anathema to Western culture, and there are very real concerns when we don’t take care that the people we import are willing and able to assimilate to our way of life. People who would thrive in the West exist all over the world. I would rather find them, who will be assets and jewels in our society, than indiscriminately allow in undifferentiated cross sections of societies that are similar to the Klan in the way they terrorize people into submission. Their targets might be different. Their methods different. But they are still killing or terrifying people they hate. Jurisprudence and what is culturally acceptable is very different.

      The movie is very sad, with wonderful acting. One can see people who would hypothetically assimilate well with us, and those who would bring intense hatred and abuse here. I do believe that when possible, immigration should be a meritocracy.

  3. Al-Qunun is 18 years old. That is considered an adult in the US, and, I believe, in Thailand. Therefore, it shouldn’t matter whether her family want her back to dispose of. The Saudis are pressuring the Thai to hand over an adult woman for an honor killing.

    Al-Qunun claims that she was already in grave trouble for cutting her hair. She has also posted photos of herself wearing makeup and contact lenses, with her hair showing. She said that she is escaping an arranged marriage. After her public comments, it is highly unlikely she would survive being returned to her family. In the region, honor resides in the body of the females. Should female behavior “dishonor” the family, then killing her is how they wash it clean.

    This is exactly what I’m talking about when I say that there are people all over the world who desperately want to be Westerners, who want the chance to assimilate. This opportunity should be granted to her.

    We were tepid in our response to the Khashogi murder. Saudi holds such leverage over us with their bases, influence in the Middle East, and OPEC, that we don’t have much to say about their abuses. They are too valuable to lose the fair weather relationship. Let now be the time to shine. If Saudi Arabia would turn against us for offering asylum to a young woman under humanitarian grounds, then our alliance has already grown too tenuous.

    Offer her a home in the US, and send people to escort her out. Should she escape, this poor girl will have to live in fear for the rest of her life. There are so many instances where a male relative will show up a year or more later, or the mother will lure her back claiming they want to reconcile, setting her up to be murdered. Drowning women in the family swimming pool still happens. Even the mother of bin Salman is under “house arrest”.

  4. Again, there is no particular reason to grant her asylum in the United States. That country most proximate to Saudi Arabia wherein she would not be prosecuted or killed by vigilantes would do. The Gulf emirates pose some idiosyncratic problems, so would not be a destination of choice. Tunisia perhaps. Alternatively, some place in the Far East such as Malaysia or Indonesia might be appropriate. Language barriers are fewer in the Arab world, however.

    There is a policy problem, though. She’s not a public figure in Saudi Arabia. She’s in the soup because of statements she’s made to buttress an asylum claim. There’s a conceivable problem of moral hazard which accretes each time you grant someone in this situation asylum.

    We have previously discussed the sexist and repressive laws imposed on women in the Kingdom, making adult women effective wards of male family members, including younger siblings or family members

    Again, ‘sexist’ is a nonsense term, used by obnoxious chatterati playing rhetorical games. No person of sense makes use of it. The difficulty with your complaints about Saudi Arabia would be thus: the laws ratify customs which are an organic development there. Neither law nor custom are set in stone, but they do have a certain architecture. You need to build a revised piece of architecture before you start knocking out pieces of masonry which might cause the old one to collapse.

    And again, Saudi Arabia has no reason to emulate the contemporary occident in re the order which obtains in domestic life or between men and women in the society at large, however troublesome current principles and practices are in Saudi Arabia. The West is absolutely FUBAR in this respect.

    1. that is probably your best comment ever especially the analogy to culture as structural foundation … very wise!

  5. That poor girl has no chance of coming out of this alive.
    And, for the record, I couldn’t care less about our standing in the world. They don’t seem to have a problem accepting our defense and spending our money.
    Many of the comments here would make one think we should import all females from Saudi Arabia to the U.S. How silly.

  6. “Accepting her would sent a message to Saudi Arabia that we care about the rights of women and girls in the Kingdom. We have lost considerable standing in the world with our accommodation of Saudi Arabia after it murdered a journalist and then lied repeatedly about it.”
    I’m not sure why we are the default position for every refugee with a problem. The operative question is how much extra in taxes are you willing to pay to end her plight and how much are you willing to impose on your fellow citizens who might not have your tender sensibilities when it comes to spending their hard won money? From what I see about our standing in the world after freeing much of it and funding even more is that our kindness gets met with eventual scorn. To paraphrase Machiavelli, it’s best to be loved and feared but if you can’t be loved you must be feared. Sorry, but it’s a tough world out there and every decision involves choices and costs.

    1. I would far rather grant merit based cases such as this than accept vast undifferentiated cross sections of societies whose values are anathema to the West. I think this girl is eager to assimilate. It seems a better use of our resources than granting an open border to anyone who is hostile to the US, such as those throwing rocks at Border Parol officers’ heads.

      1. Also, the safe harbors open to her are limited. Anywhere in the Middle East would either cooperate with Saudi Arabia, or they have an antipathy to the Kingdom but share their views on her behavior. Thailand is clearly too under the Saudi thumb, as would most other Asian countries. There are a few suitable countries left.

        A problem that troubles me is that we are afraid to offend the Saudis, due to logistics, but they hold no healthy fear or respect for us.

  7. I live in Thailand, albeit in the NE, Issan, not Bangkok. It’s been all over the news both local and international. While Thailand has never been truly democratic, we now live under a military dictatorship, you know like Trump would like, and western ways are out of favor. Thailand is well know for sending back people to a country where they will suffer harm. She has kinda’ disappeared from the news and that isn’t good. Dear leader could allow her to continue to Australia where she was going before a member of the Saudi Embassy forcibly took her passport (don’t go to a Saudi Embassy) at the airport after apparently being allowed to do so by the Thai authorities. The last I heard she had left the airport with her passport in the company of UN officials but has not been allowed to leave. She will need all the protection she can get and she’ll never get it from the rascist fascist in charge of America. Even if she makes it to Australia she will still need protection.

    1. ” … we now live under a military dictatorship, you know like Trump would like …”
      He’s fired two generals. Just another irresponsible statement from the master of them.

    2. sgtsabai

      “…she’ll never get it from the rascist fascist in charge of America. Even if she makes it to Australia she will still need protection.”

      You sir are a horse’s petootle.

      1. i saw some videos about a place called “Pattaya” — never been there– and they did not seem to be wearing that sort of garment, however, thanks for sharing!

    3. Fascism was yet another attempt to imrove upon Socialism. Trump has his issues, but neither he nor the Republican Party are fascists.

      Quite obviously, those in the Democratic Party agitating to remove individual rights for the “greater good”, curtail free speech, and threaten violence against those they disagree with politically (Antifa), have Fascist tendencies.

      Fascism and a strong Constitution with robust individual rights cannot coexist.

  8. I agree she should be granted asylum here (in the U.S.). We need more strong, independent-minded young women who know what real “gender discrimination” is! She should run for office as a Republican!

  9. Another example of the “new reformed” Saudi Arabia under the “lovely” MBS. We need to end our relationship with Saudi Arabia. I’m not sure I would recommend this young lady come here for asylum but I don’t know what her choices are.

    1. Ending the relationship Saudi Arabia would be ridiculous. And yes, she should be allowed to come here for asylum. There is no other nation that she would have the opportunities she will have here.
      You sound like another liberal who hates their country. And that is sad.

      1. It appears Holmes can think no deeper than one level. I think it might make sense for us to take her as well but maybe at the same time we should open the country to more assylum seekers by getting rid of illegals.

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