After Rahaf, a Saudi girl who desperately tried to escape her family after leaving Islam and got lucky after she was given asylum in Canada, two more girls from Saudi Arabia left Islam and are trying for refuge in Australia.
These two ex-Muslim girls, as per their lawyer, are also sisters aged 18 and 20 and they arrived in Hong Kong on September 6th, 2018. The identity of the girls has not been disclosed as it may endanger their lives as apostasy is punishable by death in the Islamic Shariah law.
Honor killing is another threat that the girls face as they have brought disrepute to the name of Islam and their family members.
The Saudi girls arrived in Hong Kong from Sri Lanka, where they had been on holiday with their family.
The two of them arrived in Hong Kong via the SriLankan Airlines with a connecting Cathay Pacific flight to Australia to depart Hong Kong the same day, their lawyer disclosed.
They were given boarding passes for their fights all the way through to Australia.
Here is what the lawyer has to say further:
“Upon their immediate arrival in Hong Kong, however, the Saudi girls were approached by two males, now known to be the staff of the Ground Handling Agent of SriLankan Airlines and Station Manager of SriLankan Airlines. Neither identified themselves to the sisters. Believing the men were assisting them, the sisters followed the men through a security checkpoint. The airline has since confirmed that the men were acting ‘solely at the request of the Royal Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Hong Kong’ the lawyer said. There were many issues and the lawyer of the sisters has given a detailed account of the meddling by the Royal Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Hong Kong including issuing threats and making false accusations against them.”
The Saudi girls despite all the obstacles are refusing to go back to Saudi Arabia. In a statement to the media they said:
“We fled our home to ensure our safety. We hope that we can be given asylum in a country which recognizes women’s rights and treats them as equals. We dream of being in a safe place where we can be normal young women, free from violence and oppression.”
Their lawyer Michael Vidler also said:
‘These brave, young, intelligent women have been living in fear, in hiding and in legal limbo in Hong Kong, not knowing what their future holds.
They remain hopeful that they can find a third country place-of-safety as soon as possible so that they can lead their lives, free of oppression, contribute to their adoptive country and be able reach their full potential.’
Leaving Islam however or even minute criticism can have repercussions.
Hamoud Saleh Al-Amri, a 28-year-old Saudi national was imprisoned in January of 2009 for writing in his blog about his decision to convert to Christianity and leave Islam. Fortunately, he escaped the death penalty.
Raif Badawi, a writer who criticized some conservative practices was publicly flogged and remains imprisoned despite seeking pardon from the royal family. It is this fate that perhaps scares many. For some, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel though.
But considering that the case of these two Saudi girls has failed to get as much limelight as Rahaf’s it seems that the future remains uncertain for these two.