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Bravo! Canada Stands Up AGAIN Against Barbaric Saudis

January 14th, 2019 · 19 Comments

Welcome to Canada Rahaf Alqunun!

  I’m so happy that CANADA has stood up AGAIN against the barbarism and human rights disgrace that is Saudi Arabia … and has granted you … a TRUE refugee … asylum.

Rahaf’s major offence?  Daring to reject the Islamic faith and wanting to get away from an allegedly abusive family situation….so she fled to Thailand in a bid to reach Australia and seek asylum.  And she said she feared she would actually be killed if she returned to Saudi Arabia.

In the face of voiced threats and delays by Australian authorities, Rahaf accepted Canada’s offer of asylum. 

Whether she remains here permanently as a landed immigrant or eventually seeks entry to another country, Canada has made its point: THIS is a country that supports human rights.

WE are indeed increasingly a country prepared to speak up and take stands in support of the dignity and rights of  human beings worldwide, despite threats and retaliatory actions hurled at us from horrific regimes and the malevolent dictators who run them.

Saudi Arabia has LONG been known as a state where brutality, torture, beheadings … and now even the murder of journalists…  are the hallmark of a dictatorship that regularly ignores and abuses human rights of its own citizens …. women, free-speech advocates, gays, and yes, members of EVERY other religion other than Sunni Islam, even those “allies” who live/work in the kingdom.

In fact, on my just-completed recent cruise, I met/dined with a Christian Catholic couple who had worked in Saudi Arabia for the US government.

Most of us would not be able to imagine the religious oppression they faced in Saudi Arabia … even inside their US compound: the secret actions/practices/subterfuges they had to engage in and endure just to arrange and hold mass with their fellow believers.

Intolerance is the hallmark of the Saudi Kingdom … and it makes ME feel very good to see Canada take a stand against them.

Lest we forget, before Rahaf fled her home in search of religious freedom, Canada was already in the Saudi’s bad books.

As the Washington Post so eloquently reported five months ago ” Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador in Riyadh, recalled its own ambassador from Ottawa, froze any new trade and investment, and suspended the scholarships of the roughly 15,000 Saudi students in Canada. Officially, this was in response to fairly mild and standard criticism of the detention of Saudi human rights activists a few days earlier by the Canadian foreign minister and the Foreign Ministry itself.”

Bravo … as I wrote at the time!

And then the Saudis MURDERED a Washington Post Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi,  right inside their own consulate in Turkey … because he was lightly critical of how the Saudi regime operated!  Barbarians!!!

And again, Canada spoke up boldly … while most of the “free” world disgraced themselves and obfuscated or stayed silent. 

Bucks for too many free world nations/leaders/politicians overrule principles.  Very sad.  

But notice the Saudis …. despite interrupting, messing up the lives of thousands of their own citizens studying, working  in Canada … did NOT cancel their pending $11 Billion purchase of Canadian-made military vehicles.

Canada did the right thing in offering asylum to Rahaf; Canada has done the right thing in standing up against Saudi brutality and incivility.

And we are now the real “shining light on the hill” for the world.

Harv Oberfeld

Tags: British Columbia · International · National

19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 hawgwash // Jan 15, 2019 at 10:03 am

    I don’t disagree with your position, harvey, or Canada’s move on this file.

    However, the cynic in me says this is just a cozy feel good act of Canadian kindness and is hypocritical in relation to Canada’s actions on China and Suadi major human rights violations.

    (Response: Certainly they are small steps … but when everyone else is standing still, staying silent or even backing away … even small steps forward speak loudly to the dictators, those who are oppressed and should embarrass the rest of the world too. China will be my next topic. h.o.)

  • 2 Diverdarren // Jan 15, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Harvey, welcome back. It looks like the new year is off to a good start.

    It’s one person, so it’s small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, so thank goodness for that. A sad story that Trudeau was able to grab onto before anyone else so as to use Rahaf as a personal poster child to show how great Trudeau is. Trudeau is misusing the refugee laws to bolster his own image here in Canada and abroad.

    It’s called Keeping it Real, so let’s.

    Is Rahaf a refugee? Yes, in the sense that she was declared so by UN authority and then by the Canadian Minister.

    But, it’s clear her ability to use Twitter and act in a way to get international attention played more to help her “plight” then the true circumstances of her life.

    Reading the CBC interview,
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saudi-teen-fled-thailand-canada-1.4977664

    It’s clear her problem is a family issue. Generally the standard of refugee status is based on how the state will treat you as opposed to how your family will allegedly mistreat you.

    We could call it the Cinderella refugee. Got some wicked step sisters, well come to Canada, Trudeau will be your Prince. Just be sure to know how to manipulate Twitter, only internet celebs get Trudeau’s attention.

    I’m sure Rahaf will be a fine Canadian, but if the new standard for refugee status is having a bad relationship with you family then Trudeau has opened the door to every teen out there. We have to be fair and treat claimants equally. Trudeau will have to grant status to anyone with domestic issues, or will Trudeau only grant Cinderella status to the claimants that will make Trudeau look good in an election year.

    (Response: Yes… the government is no doubt hoping to score points at home and even abroad …. although showing up so many other nations for their shameless fear of the Saudis my not win friends. But I would say almost anyone from Saudi Arabia and its oppressive regime would have a good case in seeking asylum anywhere in the free world. We can’t take them all …but I’m glad we gave her refuge … although I wouldn’t bet on this being her final destination. h.o.)

  • 3 D. M. Johnston // Jan 15, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Yes, Canada and Trudeau did the right thing and gave the middle finger to Saudi Arabia , that backward bronze age country.

    The big test is coming, China, as the Chinese government is now going to execute a Canadian (yes, yes, he was a drug smuggler, but was given a 15 year sentence, but upgraded to death upon appeal).

    This poses some important questions, such as: is Chinese law so fluid that the government can overturn convictions and execute people at their discretion. If it is, i would ban all Canadian travel to China immediately.

    As well, if this chap is executed, I would bundle up Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou and deliver her directly to the USA and bar her reentry into Canada, the law be damned.

    This is what Trudeau should tell the Chinese ambassador, if he has not been tossed from Canada.

    When you deal with viscous despots, sometimes the law is transgressed.

    This will be Trudeau’s test in the next election and if he fails………

    (Response: They will NOT execute him: that’s just a political ploy … he will serve time and be used as a bargaining chip as well. But China IS a problem we will have to come to deal with more realistically … and that will be my next topic for Keeping it Real (how appropriate a title in China’s case.) h.o.)

  • 4 Art Smith // Jan 15, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Harvey, nice to see you are not as cynical as I am. I think this was just another virtue signalling twofer opportunity for our Liberal government, tweak the nose of the Saudis and a photo op for Freeland, which she took full advantage of. Anything to look good without actually having to do something substantial. You know like getting a pipeline moving along or getting tariffs removed, and maybe even stopping imports of Saudi oil.
    Besides it gave the news reporters something to write about besides Brison quitting so he wouldn’t have to testify as a cabinet minister in the Norman trial, oops, I mean so he could spend more time with his family (lol).

    (Response: Oh, no doubt it WAS political to some extent on the part of the government and Freeland…complete with that Canada jacket they gave her to wear. But I do believe that Canada IS leading other countries …. whose silence is deafening and disgraceful …in standing up/speaking out against Saudi barbarism…and we should all, despite partisan beliefs, be proud of that and congratulate the government for doing so. (While still urging them to throw out phony refugee claimants who just arrive here illegally and say to hell with Canada’s laws.) h.o)

  • 5 13 // Jan 15, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    If its okay Im going to reserve judgement on this entire affair. My disgust with Trudeau wont allow me to see him as a great (anything) humanitarian.
    The Saudi girl is to young to judge her motives or if we have done her a favor or a disservice.

    I heard that the UN asked Trudeau if he would take the girl. If thats true then we know that Trudeau would do just about anything to suck up to the UN.

    (Response: Well, he certainly has been fawning over the UN … his speech last year was appalling. BUT don’t underestimate the power and influence the Saudis and their dollars have at the UN and with many Muslim countries….so Canada’s stand is all the more laudible and remarkable. And I have to admit I like it when Canada stands up to dictators … despite threats, bullying etc … and offers asylum to REAL refugees oppressed for just wanting freedom to live their lives or speak out without fear. And readers of this blog will know doesn’t matter to me which politician/party does that. h.o.)

  • 6 BMCQ // Jan 16, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Welcome back Harvey, I hope your Cruise was enjoyable.

    This Blog Topic is of great interest and I really do not think any of us here and including the rest of Canadian Residents will ever really know the facts let alone the Whole Truth

    Unfortunately I do not trust or believe anything PM Justin says or does, unfortunately he is like far too many Politicians today and he is simply a Shallow Man without Character, Honesty, or Scrupples. Everything he does is based on his own Twisted Sense of Symbolism and what Photo Ops he can orchestrate and take advantage of. Everyone anyone is liable to be used at a Prop for his Photo Ops or Symbolic Fluff. I find it disgusting that the Fawning Pres continue to allow him to get away with any of it.

    Unfortunately much of his maneurering and manipulation of that Fawning Press is fully intended for His Masters at the United Nations. H will stop at nothing in his attempt to paint himself as some sort of a Statesman or should I say States People Kind.

    I agree fully with the following comment.

    ” The Cynic in me says this is just a cozy feel goo act of Canadian kindness and is hypocritical in relation to Canada’s actions to China and Saudi Arabia Major Human Rights Violations”.

    PM Justin is doing nothing less than playing to His Base and the Criminals and Fraudsters at the U.N..

    Having said that I am fully supportive of Refugee Programs as long as Refugees have been vetted. I DO NOT believe Canada or any other Country in the West should be bringing in any people that believe their Religiuos beliefs supersede or take precedence over the Laws of our Country.

    I am very happy the Alqunun is afe and I wish her well.

    I cannot help but notice that this particular Refugee is from part of the Privileged Class in Saudi Arabia and I must wonder just how some of the other Women, LGBTQ, Chrisians, Jewish People or other Oppressed Minorities would have loved the opportunity to be swept off to Canada and met at YYZ by a Canadian Cabinet Minister?

    There are about 35 Million People in Saudi Arabia and there are literally Hundreds of Millions in over 20 other Arab Nations. How many are Oppressed, Abused, Attacked, Tortured, or Executed in any given year?

    The U.S. takes in about 500 thousand Refugees each and every year could you imagine a Cabinet Minister meeting each and every one of them at the arriving Airport? and some may claim this Event was not a Photo Op.

    Again, I have many questions about this whole thing and I am only speculating when I suggest that PM Justin approached his U.N. Masters with the idea of them approaching Canada about offering Alqunun Refuge and Refugee Status.

    There is a LOT MORE to this Story.

    (Response: We cant take all of them…but we CAN take more legitimate refugees and we CAN speak up against the abuses….and even those who don’t like Trudeau/Libs personally or ideologically should be supportive when they do speak up/act. h.o)

  • 7 Marge // Jan 16, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    This could all have been done quietly behind the scenes without the fanfare and typical Liberal “don’t we look good” propaganda. The fact that Ms. Freeland was there to welcome the girl says it all in my opinion. Just more liberal show to win ethnic votes.

    Also by making this very very public what about the backlash in the home country? Some good points put forth by Global here:

    https://globalnews.ca/news/4846740/rahaf-alqunun-canada-saudi-women/

    I think this was a good thing for the girl but it could and should have been handled better.

    Off topic now: By the way what do you make of the Liberals in Burnaby? Planned or “accident”?

    (Response: I agree Freeland made it a show …being present personally to welcome Rahaf … but there was no way this “could all have been done quietly behind the scenes”….the world was well tuned in to what was happening in Thailand with the Saudi asylum issue. h.o.)

  • 8 Gene The Bean // Jan 17, 2019 at 8:17 am

    The typical “ya, buts” come out when it is someone named Rahaf, we’d never hear from them if the refugee was named Marilyn. Some things never change.

    Harvey, you didn’t mention Trudeau once in your story but the popcorn crowd can’t mention him enough. This isn’t about him, it is about Canadian values. Why is that so hard to understand for some folks.

    (Response: Exactly. No doubt Trudeau/Freeland will hope to benefit from granting Rahaf asylum, but the IMPORTANT thing is that they did, that Canada as a nation did and that most Canadians are supportive. Bravo! And even partisans favouring other parties should laud this action and our country’s leaders speaking out for human rights in Saudi Arabia …despite the reaction of the barbarians running that state. h.o.)

  • 9 Hawgwash // Jan 17, 2019 at 8:49 am

    The lack of participation on this one is interesting.

    Could it be most folks feel the same, as the half dozen posters believe, this is just another opportunistic self-promo by Trudeau and Freeland?

  • 10 BMCQ // Jan 17, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Canada Did, They Did, and most Canadians are for sure supportive, but Thank God many Canadians also question the Legitimacy of some of the Reasons behind the action of Canadian PM Justin.

    I support the Decision to give Safe Haven to the young woman but like a high percentage of Canadians I still feel there is much more to this story and last time I checked unlike ALL Middle Eastern Countries other than Israel Canadians do not need to follow into line in lockstep behind one another, we still have freedom of thought and opinion in this country.

    To deny that the orchestration and unveiling of this whole event by PM Justin, Freeland, and a few other Politicians did not play a huge part in this story is simply juvenile, but then it was what we might expect from one or two here.

    I also question the motivation and attempts of the Refugee Alqunun to use Social Media to get the point across that she had Bacon for Breakfast on her more or less first day in Canada. Really? Why?

    I believe Government should keep this File open, I somehow feel very strongly that we will be hearing much more from this particular refugee claimant even if her name is not MARILYN.

    Some people just do not want to let facts get in the way of a god story.

    I strongly believe that Canada should be putting its efforts behind bringing Jewish Immigrants and Refugees from The EU, the Middle East, and Northern Africa, along with Minority Christians from the Middle East and Northern Africa, while at the same time bringing in well vetted Kurds from Iraq.

    Yes, I believe almost all Canadians support the admission of Aqulun but Yes I also believe that most Canadians feel the action “Is just another opportunistic self-promo and photo-op by Trudeau and Freeland”.

    Thank God that in Canada we still have that freedom of thought and opinion, Thank God GTB is not the “Thought Police”!

  • 11 Gilbert // Jan 17, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    I think the decision to accept Rahaf Alqunun was fine. I hope she’ll stay in Canada and become a productive member of society. Of course there are many who want her dead, so she needs to maintain a low-profile.

    A previous person commented on Burnaby South. I suspect the decision to withdraw the Liberal candidate was due to the strong desire to see Jagmeet Singh win his seat. The Liberals want a weak NDP because it helps them.

    (Response: Will blog about Burnaby by-election soon. h.o.)

  • 12 e.a.f. // Jan 17, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    I’m happy to see Canada has accept this young woman as a refugee. Australia was a tad slow and Canada having also indicating they would accept her, we must have looked good.

    Saudi Arabia may be less than amused by this, but that doesn’t matter. Who knows if we get lucky enough they’ll cancel the armaments contract with us, which Harper signed.

    I’m sure her case has been Face Booked all over the world, especially amongst young women who have to live under these intolerable conditions. If more young women act this quickly and smartly I hope Canada accepts them as refugees also.

    it was great to see a number of organizations and individuals work this quickly. Lets hope we see more of it.

    Canada has been quietly working to accept gays from Chechyna also. They tend to get murdered there.

    I would rather have refugees who fear for their lives coming to Canada than any number of billionaires who have no real interest in being Canadian beyond taking advantage of our system and having a blot hole to run to if things go side ways in their home country.

    So I say ,WELCOME!

    (Response: Me too! I have always wanted Canada to be hard on people who just ignore Canadian immigration laws and just come here for personal economic benefit, pushing ahead of those who have applied to immigrate lawfully and are awaiting processing/approval. But I do as much support/welcome as reasonably possible giving haven to legitimate refugees … people facing abuse, torture, death for just being who they are or standing up for basic human rights. And I’m proud to be a Canadian when we do that … esp in light of the sad record of other countries that talk of freedom and democracy and human rights …but stay silent or do nothing to actually expand it to help those pursuing it. Bravo for Canada …. and, yes, Trudeau and his government for doing so. h,o.)

  • 13 13 // Jan 17, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    Canadian values? Im not sure that GTB or anyone of us could make a list of Canadian values that would be embraced by every one of us. What I am sure of is my dislike for Justin Trudeau period full stop. Not JT the Liberal leader just the man himself
    Or peoplekind or personkind or what ever Justin would dream up to ingratiate himself to the current audience.
    Having said that I would much rather give Canadian Values ? credit for allowing this girl a safe haven than to give Trudeau any attention.

  • 14 13 // Jan 19, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    Yabut I hope your right Harvey about China not putting a bullet in the back of the drug dealers head. (alleged drug dealer if you dont trust Chinese jurist prudence). If it turn out your wrong and the Chinese do execute Shellenburg than Canada will be in a very awkward position. Trudeau might be forced to do something with genuine consequences
    Perhaps its time Canada stood up for its own citizens .

    (Response: My next blog will be about the “real” China. h.o.)

  • 15 RIsaak // Jan 20, 2019 at 10:24 am

    The many shifting sands of Canadian/Saudi relations require much analysis and should create many thoughts about both domestic & foreign policy. We welcome a teenager who is no doubt afraid of not only government authorities but her own family as well. Mainly for wishing many of the items us Canadians completely take for granted.

    Meanwhile I believe back east (Nova Scotia) a man under passport surrender conditions has fled justice, apparently with some assistance from Saudi diplomats.

    Saudi oil continues to flow into eastern Canada, Canadian built LAV’s may be used in the Yemen proxy war, not many Syrian refugees have been welcomed by the Sauds, and we by continuation of business agreements seem to be somewhat complicit. The guilt of known association should trouble even the most skeptical and this onion has many tear inducing layers, no doubt some which none of us have considered possible!

    (Response: I have no doubt the federal govmt would like to cancel the military vehicle deal …IF it could do so without HUGE penalties that the Saudis would profit from unjustly. There’s also the issue of loss of Canadian jobs, but I believe that could be compensated for with Canadian government work. The best outcome would be if the Saudis would cancel …but barbaric murderous regimes, while willing to cancel travel,jobs or assignments that hurt their own people, lack the backbone to cancel purchases of military equipment that allows them to carry out their own abuses and killings. h.o.)

  • 16 Jay Jones // Jan 20, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    Canada will always be one of the greatest places in the world because of the abundance of NATURAL wealth God blessed it with. To be the greatest of all places in the world, the population needs to be to country more than only what pet is to family and at this ridiculously slow pace I see that being the case in about the year 2395.

  • 17 BMCQ // Jan 20, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    Most here will find the attached NP Article of interest

    https://nationalpost.com/opinion/the-worlds-refugees-cant-all-expect-the-rahaf-mohammed-treatment

    Most here should also find the attached Comments below the NP Article of interest.

  • 18 e.a.f. // Jan 24, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    Read all of it, but really what was the alternative, sending her back to Saudi Arabia with her family. its so nice to criticise but not give alternatives. Would the Liberal’s critics have preferred she died at the hands of her family? what would they have done? Nothing.

    Canada has quietly been accepting gays from Chetchenya. If Chetchenya/Russia were aware they had come to Canada, their families might suffer.

    Even back in the day some refugees go the “star” treatment. It signifies we do take refugees, which is more than what some other countries do. who can ever forget when Canada accepted the whole faculty of Forestry from a Hungarian University. the whole bunch, teachers, students, etc. walked out and came to U.B.C.

    Canada was loud and clear when it accepted Ismalis who were being expelled by Idi Amin from Uganda. would refugees have been given as much fan fare if they were from other groups. Perhaps not, but Canada sure benefited and all of them came with loans from the Canadian government as others did in those times. What is interesting is that they all paid back the money. The entire group, paid back all of it.

    I say bring in more refugees. “we don’t need millionaires and billionaires from Communist China who see Canada as place to get their own way. Refugees mostly come to be part of our country.
    yes, things could be better, but tax payers aren’t willing to pay for the changes to the laws or procedures.

    I’m happy with the way the government acted. It clearly demonstrates we still can do something good in the middle of this mess. Not all refugees are going to be given the rock star treatment but it was a great feel good moment and it did give others hope.

  • 19 BMCQ // Jan 26, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    I believe the vast majority of Canadians want welcome refugees. My wife and I have several Ismailis amongst our friends who came to Canada under special circumstances and they offer much to Canada but they to a person came to Canada to be Canadians first and foremost.

    I wish the young Saudi Woman success but none the less the NP Piece should give us all pause to consider.

    I agree with much about what you have to say about Mainland Chinese Investor Migrants but also believe that Canada has the Right and Responsibility to ask for more from any and all Migrants, Refugees, and or Immigrants that come to our Country.

    No country should allow Anyone regardless of circumstance to re locate to Canada that believes their Religion takes Presedense over Our Rule of Law period.

    I stand by my comments that I believe Canada and it’s Juvenile, Impotent, Inept, and Disengaged, PM Justin were played by the young woman, the UN, and his own need to be recognized as a Hero and Statesman and we will hear much more from the young woman and this File.

    There is much more to this story and nothing would surprise me as to what might happen next.