Front Burner

The secret network that helped Rahaf Mohammed escape

Reporter Nahlah Ayed discovered a private group chat where women are helping each other flee repressive regimes, or family violence.
(@rahaf84427714/Twitter via Reuters)

When Rahaf Mohammed made her public plea for asylum, a private group chat was following her journey. Along with Rahaf, this secret network includes nearly two dozen Gulf Arab women who have also escaped to the West.

Members of this group are mostly from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. As reporter Nahlah Ayed describes, they help each other navigate impossible obstacles as they try to flee repressive regimes, or family violence. One of their major challenges is circumventing local laws that restrict their decision-making to male guardians. As Ayed puts it, "When you look at the entire picture of what they've done, it's extraordinary."

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