Meriam Al Khalifa

Meriam Al Khalifa

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Meriam Al Khalifa

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Sheikha Meriam Al Khalifa (born 1980) is a distant member of the Bahraini royal House of Al-Khalifa. She became famous after she met a US Marine and eloped with him to the United States. Her story was covered in the media – she was featured in highly popular TV shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, and a made for television movie was made about her.


Al Khalifa is one of five daughters of Sheik Abdullah bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, a relative of Bahrain's present king, Sheik Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

She became known in the US media in 1999 after she met Jason Johnson, a United States Marine and a Mormon, in a shopping mall in Bahrain and fell in love with him. She escaped to the United States in November 1999 using forged documents and abandoned her life as a Bahraini royal, opting to marry Johnson and live as a housewife in Nevada.

Application for asylum in the US

Al Khalifa faced charges of illegally entering the United States and deportation proceedings. The princess applied for political asylum, citing that she faced harm, which would have included death, for her marriage to a non-Muslim and her exit from the country. This action caused embarrassment to the royal family. Johnson and Al Khalifa said in an interview with CBS News that if she returned to Bahrain, she would be "lashed, executed,...
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