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Who Is Jamal Khashoggi?

FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2015, file photo, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain. Turkish claims that Khashoggi, who wrote for The Washington Post, was slain inside a Saudi diplomatic mission in Turkey, has put the Trump administration in a delicate spot with one of its closest Mid-east allies. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)
Who is Jamal Khashoggi?
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Jamal Khashoggi is one of most influential Arab journalists in the world.

No one has seen or heard from him since October 2. That was the day when he walked into Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish government officials have said he was killed inside the office. Saudi Arabian officials deny harming the journalist.

Jamal Khashoggi has worked for Saudi, American and international publications. He is highly critical of the government of Saudi Arabia, the nation of his birth.

Khashoggi lived in the United States after fleeing Saudi Arabia in June 2017. When asked why he left, he told Al Jazeera television in March, “I don’t want to be arrested.”

Early life

Jamal Khashoggi was born 59 years ago in Medina, Saudi Arabia, one of the holiest cities in Islam. He comes from a wealthy and powerful family. He is the grandson of Muhammad Khashoggi, a Turk who served as the personal doctor for King Abdulaziz Al Saud, the founder of Saudi Arabia.

Jamal Khashoggi is a nephew of Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi businessman who was involved in an arms for hostages deal, the Iran-Contra scandal. In the 1980s, Adnan Khashoggi was reported to be worth $4 billion.

After completing his studies at Indiana State University in 1983, Jamal Khashoggi began working as a reporter for the English language newspaper Saudi Gazette.

In the 1990s, he reported from Afghanistan, Algeria, Sudan and the Middle East. He later wrote for other English and Arab language newspapers. He rose to become deputy editor-in-chief of Arab News, the top English newspaper in Saudi Arabia.

In his reporting and opinion pieces, Khashoggi often criticized Saudi religious values and pushed the government to carry out reforms. He made an enemy of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the First Deputy Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia and son of King Salman.

In 2017, Saudi police arrested nearly 50 political and business leaders in what critics saw as a power move by the Crown Prince. This action was quickly followed by the arrest of 17 women’s rights activists. The government threatened to execute human rights activists Israa al-Ghomgham and her husband.

Fearing for his safety, Khashoggi fled to the United States, where he lived outside Washington, D.C.

“I have left my home, my family, and my job, and I am raising my voice…We Saudis deserve better,” he wrote in his first guest column for The Washington Post.

Khashoggi entered the Saudi diplomatic office in Istanbul to complete paperwork he needed to get remarried. His wife-to-be, a 36-year old Turkish woman, said she stood 11 hours near the door to the consulate, waiting for him to return. When he did not appear, she reported his disappearance.

I’m Susan Shand. reported this story. Susan Shand adapted the story for Learning English. Her story includes information from Bloomberg. George Grow was the editor.


Words in This Story

journalistn. the activity or job of collecting, writing, and editing news stories for newspapers, magazines, television, or radio

consulaten. a government building whose employees is to live in a foreign country and protect and help the citizens of his or her own country who are traveling, living, or doing business

nephew – n. the son of a brother or sister

scandal – n. an occurrence in which people are shocked and upset because of behavior that is morally or legally wrong

column – n. an opinion piece, usually appearing in a newspaper or magazine