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Rageh Omaar

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Title: Rageh Omaar  
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Subject: Witness (2006 TV programme), Somalis in the United Kingdom, Mohamed Abdullahi Omaar, List of Al Jazeera presenters, Ethnic Multicultural Media Academy
Collection: 1967 Births, Al Jazeera People, Alumni of New College, Oxford, Bbc Newsreaders and Journalists, British Male Writers, British Non-Fiction Writers, British People of Somali Descent, British Reporters and Correspondents, British Sunni Muslims, British Television Journalists, Ethnic Somali People, Itn Newsreaders and Journalists, Living People, People Educated at Cheltenham College, People Educated at the Dragon School, People from Mogadishu, Somalian Emigrants to the United Kingdom, Somalian Muslims
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Rageh Omaar

Rageh Omaar
Native name راجح عمر
Born (1967-07-19) 19 July 1967
Mogadishu, Somalia
Alma mater New College, Oxford
Occupation Journalist, author
Religion Sunni Islam

Rageh Omaar (; Somali: Raage Omaar, Arabic: راجح عمر‎; born 19 July 1967) is a Somali-born British journalist and writer. His latest book Only Half of Me deals with the tensions between these two sides of his identity. He used to be a BBC world affairs correspondent, where he made his name reporting from Iraq. In September 2006, Rageh moved to a new post at Al Jazeera English, where he presented the nightly weekday documentary series Witness until January 2010. The Rageh Omaar Report, first aired February 2010, is a one-hour, monthly investigative documentary in which he reports on important international current affairs stories. From January 2013, he became a special correspondent and presenter for ITV News, reporting on a broad range of news stories, as well as producing special in-depth reports from all around the UK and further afield. A year after his appointment, Omaar was promoted to International Affairs Editor for ITV News.


  • Personal life 1
  • Journalism 2
    • General 2.1
    • BBC 2.2
    • Al Jazeera 2.3
    • ITV News 2.4
  • Awards and nominations 3
  • See also 4
  • Other works 5
    • Television 5.1
    • Books 5.2
    • DVD 5.3
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Personal life

Omaar was born in 1967 in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.[1] He is the son of a wealthy businessman from the northwestern Somaliland region of Somalia. A Muslim, his family is originally from Hargeisa.[2]

Rageh has several siblings. His elder brother, Mohamed Abdullahi Omaar, was a former Foreign Minister of Somalia.[3]

At the age of two, Rageh moved to the United Kingdom. He thereafter attended two independent schools, the Dragon School in Oxford and Cheltenham College in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Omaar later studied Modern History at New College at the University of Oxford.[2]

Omaar is married to Georgiana Rose "Nina" Montgomery-Cuninghame, the daughter of Sir John Montgomery-Cuninghame of Corsehill. The couple live in Chiswick, west London, with their three children.[1]

He maintains close contact with his family in Somalia, is an activist for the Somali community, and regularly attends its lectures and events.[1]



Omaar began his journalistic career as a trainee for The Voice newspaper. In 1991, he moved to Ethiopia where he freelanced as a foreign correspondent, working mainly for the BBC World Service. A year later, Omaar returned to London to work as a producer and broadcast journalist for the BBC. He moved to South Africa after having been appointed the BBC's Africa correspondent. Omaar's wife and children were based there through 2004, and his regular commuting made domestic life a challenge.[4]

His career highlights include reporting live on the conflicts in Somalia and Iraq.


Omaar covered the Iraq invasion for the weekday BBC news bulletins and BBC News. Many of his broadcasts were syndicated across the United States, where he became known as the Scud Stud.[5]

Omaar has written a book about his time as the BBC's Iraq correspondent called Revolution Day. The book deals with the effects of the Saddam Hussein regime, UN sanctions, and of the war on Iraqi civilians.

Explaining why he eventually left the BBC, Omaar suggested that he wanted to operate independently and to take on assignments for people he wished to collaborate with. He also suggested that the BBC working environment was somewhat exclusivist on a class basis, and that he was guilty of this as well to some degree as a consequence of his public school upbringing.[6]

Additionally, Omaar has expressed regret about the way in which he covered the invasion of Iraq during his time as a BBC correspondent. He suggested that he and his colleagues we did pieces on Sadam Hussein, his regime and weapons inspectors, while devoting comparatively little coverage to the Iraqi people.[6] Interviewed in John Pilger's documentary The War You Don't See (2010), Omaar also lamented that "one didn't press the most uncomfortable buttons hard enough" and called the coverage "a giant echo chamber".[7]

Al Jazeera

In September 2006, Omaar joined Al Jazeera English.[8] He served as a Middle Eastern correspondent for its London Division.[2]

During his time with the news organization, Omaar presented the nightly weekday documentary series Witness.[8] He also hosted the monthly The Rageh Omaar Report, his own investigative documentaries.[2]

ITV News

In January 2013, it was announced that Omaar would be joining ITV News as a special correspondent.[9] He was promoted the following year to ITV News' International Affairs Editor.[10]

Since October 2015, as well as his duties as International Affairs Editor, Rageh is now also a Deputy Anchor on ITV News at Ten, sharing this role with Julie Etchingham.

Awards and nominations

In 2003, Omaar was the recipient of an Ethnic Multicultural Media Academy award for the best TV journalist.[8]

In 2008, he was also presented the Arab Media Watch Award for excellence in journalism.[11]

In January 2014 and 2015, Omaar was nominated for the Services to Media award at the British Muslim Awards.[12][13]

See also

Other works



  • Revolution Day: The Real Story of the Battle for Iraq, Penguin Books (2005), ISBN 0-14-101716-3
  • Only Half of Me: Being a Muslim in Britain, Viking (2006), ISBN 0-670-91509-2


  • The Ottomans: Europe's Muslim Emperors (region 2)


  1. ^ a b c "My week: Rageh Omaar". The Guardian. 12 November 2006. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Prime Performers – Rageh Omaar". Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  3. ^ "Somali cabinet named". Reuters. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Whitworth, Damian (7 February 2006). "Farewell to the front line (for now)". London:  
  5. ^ "ITV fails in bid to woo Rageh Omaar". Broadcastnow. 26 February 2004. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Pool, Hannah (15 February 2007). "Question Time: Rageh Omar". London:  
  7. ^ John Pilger "Why are wars not being reported honestly?", The Guardian, 10 December 2010
  8. ^ a b c "Rageh Omaar - Best TV Journalist Award Winner 2002-2003". Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  9. ^ Plunkett, John (8 January 2013). "Rageh Omaar joins ITV News". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "Rageh Omaar goes beyond the headlines for new ITV current affairs series". ITV Press Centre. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-27. 
  11. ^ "Our writers win more awards". Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  12. ^ "British Muslim Awards 2014 winners". Asian Image. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  13. ^ "British Muslim Awards 2015 finalists unveiled". Asian Image. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  14. ^ "Iran season - General". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  15. ^ "Islam in America - General". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  16. ^ "BBC iPlayer - BBC Four". Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ "Behind the Rhetoric The Real Iran BBC Documentary YouTube". Retrieved 2015-05-02. 
  19. ^ "Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East". 2014-07-26. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  20. ^ "BBC One - Panorama, Ivory Wars: Out of Africa". 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 

External links

  • Rageh Omaar at
  • Rageh Omaar on Twitter
  • Guardian Interview
  • BBC News: Our man in Baghdad
  • BBC News: BBC's Rageh Omaar signs book deal
  • BBC News: Reporter Rageh Omaar takes new role
  • Rageh Omaar to explore Jesus miracles
  • Interview with The Stirrer at a book signing "The Stirrer"
Media offices
Preceded by
Nick Robinson
International Affairs Editor, ITV News
2014 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Mary Nightingale & Alastair Stewart
Deputy Anchor, ITV News at Ten
2015 – present
Succeeded by
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