Medina, Istanbul, Jakarta: Absentee funeral prayers for slain Saudi journalist Khashoggi held worldwide

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Published 16.11.2018 15:03
Updated 16.11.2018 17:13
People hold a photo of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as they perform a prayer at Fatih Mosque in Istanbul, November 16, 2018. (EPA Photo)
People hold a photo of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as they perform a prayer at Fatih Mosque in Istanbul, November 16, 2018. (EPA Photo)

Funeral prayers in absentia were held for slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, Medina, Mecca and other cities across the world on Friday.

Tens of thousands of worshippers at Mecca's Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, Khashoggi's hometown, joined in prayers for the deceased, though the imams did not name him.

In Istanbul, mourners raised their hands in prayer outside Fatih Mosque. An imam recited verses from the Quran under a tent set up to protect against the rain, and Khashoggi's friends eulogized him.

In Indonesia, more than 600 people performed a funeral prayer in absentia for the journalist at Jakarta's Abu Bakar Ash Shiddiq Mosque.

Sheikh Yusuf Abdul Ghani, a Saudi imam who was on a visit to Indonesia as part of a humanitarian relief organization, led the prayer.

"We will perform funeral prayer for the martyred Jamal Khashoggi. He was killed very unjustly," said Abdul Ghani.

"We pray for him to get ease, for Allah to forgive his sins and make those who killed him pay the price," he added.

The family said it will accept condolences at their residence in Jeddah from Friday to Sunday.

"What we heard yesterday from the Saudi public prosecutor is not the justice we were expecting or waiting for, but represents injustice itself," said Ayman Nour, a liberal Egyptian politician.

Yasin Aktay, adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, called for Prince Mohammed to distance himself from the legal proceedings.

"There is no chance to have a court proceeding that is independent from the crown prince in Saudi Arabia," said Aktay.

For weeks, Khashoggi's family has urged Saudi and Turkish authorities to find his remains and hand them over for burial, but the Saudi prosecutor said their whereabouts are unknown.

Islamic tradition places immense importance on the proper handling of the dead, mandating quick burial. The revelation that the body was dismembered has thus been particularly disturbing.

The decision to hold prayer services in the absence of a body suggests the family does not expect it to be recovered.

Khashoggi's son, Salah, met the king and crown prince in Riyadh last month to receive condolences along with other relatives. He then departed for Washington after a travel ban was lifted and told CNN on Nov. 5 that he wanted to bury his father in Medina with the rest of the family.

"We just need to make sure that he rests in peace," Salah said. "Until now, I still can't believe that he's dead. It's not sinking in with me emotionally."

NEW LIFE

Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish researcher who had waited outside the Istanbul consulate for hours on the day he was killed and alerted the authorities and the media when he never left the building, called last week for Muslims around the world to perform the funeral prayer for him.

On Thursday, she tweeted a selfie of Khashoggi outside the Prophet's Mosque in Medina mosque, writing: "Dear Jamal.. rest in peace. We will meet in heaven inshallah (God willing)..!"

Cengiz and Khashoggi met at a conference in Istanbul in May and soon decided to wed. He had entered the consulate that day to obtain documents proving an earlier marriage had ended.

The pair purchased an apartment in Istanbul and Khashoggi was planning to live between there and Washington, where he moved 18 months earlier fearing reprisals for his views. He obtained U.S. residency and wrote for the Washington Post, becoming familiar to many American policymakers.

"I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice. To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison," he wrote in Sept. 2017, referring to intellectuals, activists and clerics arrested under Prince Mohammed.

His murder has provoked the biggest political crisis in a generation for Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter and a supporter of Washington's plans to contain Iranian influence across the Middle East.

It has also tarnished the image of Prince Mohammed, who has pushed social and economic reforms while cracking down on dissent, upending the delicate balance inside the ruling family, and leading the country into messy conflicts in Yemen and Qatar.

Khashoggi, a frequent contributor to The Washington Post, was killed Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

After weeks of denying any involvement in the crime, Saudi Arabia later admitted that Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate but claimed the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of any plot to murder the journalist.

His body has yet to be returned to his family amid reports that it was chemically dissolved.

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