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Remembering Jamal Khashoggi’s murder one year on

Today marks one year since Saudi author and journalist, Jamal Khashoggi (raḥimahu Allāhu) was brutally murdered in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul. On 2nd October 2018, Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in order to acquire documentation confirming that he divorced his ex-wife. The 59-year-old was never to be seen again. [1]

In the days following the disappearance of Khashoggi, the story developed almost every day since then, with Turkish media reporting on the 15-man “hit-squad” who arrived and departed Istanbul on the same day, and releasing horrific detail of what occurred to the critic of the Saudi rulers, including torture and dismemberment.

The following is a summary of events in the year since Khashoggi was killed.

The official response from the Saudi authorities was to meet all accusations with blanket denial and refuse consulate access to Turkish investigators. Consulate access was eventually granted, albeit after areas of the consulate were said to have been repainted, and a deep clean of the site carried out.

Saudi officials, including those at the highest level in government, denied and berated all claims of his murder for the first 17 days after his disappearance, but on the 20th October, finally acknowledged that he had been killed.

Khashoggi, who left Saudi Arabia in 2017, was critical of the Saudi authorities and wrote articles criticising the government. In 2017, he wrote an article for The Washington Post, titled: “Saudi Arabia wasn’t always this repressive. Now it’s unbearable.”

In the article, he states:

“The government banned me from Twitter when I cautioned against an overly enthusiastic embrace of then-President-elect Donald Trump.”

During a vigil, which was held in Istanbul, Khashoggi’s fiancée Hatice Cengiz said that she was still seeking justice for his brutal murder. [2]

The murder of the journalist prompted worldwide outrage and increased scrutiny of Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who denies being involved in the killing.

In his articles, Khashoggi would express his concern and was critical of the policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.

Although the Crown Prince continues to completely deny any involvement in the killing of the journalist, a UN expert has called for the royal to be investigated. In addition, in a report released in June, an expert described the killing as a “premeditated extrajudicial execution”.

The disappearance of Khashoggi came at a time where the Saudi authorities arrested scores of scholars and activists in what was seen as a significant shift in internal policy. The measures have been dubbed by some as a precursor to introducing more secular-leaning laws. [3]

Amongst the dozens of prominent scholars, activists and academics arrested by the Saudi authorities, are Sheikh Salman al-Awda, Sheikh Awad al-Qarni, Sheikh Mohammad Musa al-Sharif, Sheikh Muhammad Saleh al-Munajjid and Sheikh Abdul Aziz at-Tarefe. [4] Prosecutors in Saudi Arabia also sought the death penalty for some prominent scholars including, Shaykh Salman al-Ouda, following an apparent secret trial. [5]

In our upcoming Unscripted Podcast on Islam21c, Dr Azzam Tamimi discusses why Jamal Khashoggi was killed.

The full podcast will be released this Friday at 6pm insha’Allah.

May Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) grant Jamal Khashoggi (raḥimahu Allāhu) and all those who have been killed unjustly Jannat al-Firdaus and may He bring about much greater good for his people in this world and the next.








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