Rageh Omaar

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Rageh Omaar
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{{Use dmy dates|date=September 2016}}

| birth_place = Mogadishu, Somalia| occupation = Journalist, author| nationality = British| alma_mater = New College, Oxford}}Rageh Omaar ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|r|æ|g|i|_|ˈ|oʊ|m|ɑːr}}; ; ; born 19 July 1967) is a Somali-born British journalist and writer. He was a BBC world affairs correspondent, where he made his name reporting from Iraq. In September 2006, he 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 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. Since October 2015, alongside his duties as International Affairs Editor, he has been a Deputy Newscaster of ITV News at Ten. Since September 2017 Omaar has occasionally presented the ITV Lunchtime News including the ITV News London Lunchtime Bulletin and the ITV Evening News.

Early life

Omaar was born in 1967 in Mogadishu and is the son of a businessman.NEWS, My week: Rageh Omaar,weblink 29 June 2014, The Guardian, 12 November 2006, A Muslim, his family is originally from Somalia, Hargeisa.WEB,weblink Prime Performers – Rageh Omaar,, 31 July 2014, Omaar moved to the United Kingdom at the age of two. He has several siblings: his elder brother, Mohamed Abdullahi Omaar, was a former Foreign Minister of Somalia.NEWS, Somali cabinet named,weblink 29 June 2014, Reuters, 21 January 2009, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 5 March 2009, dmy-all,


Omaar attended two independent schools, the Dragon School in Oxford and Cheltenham College in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. He later studied Modern History at New College at the University of Oxford.



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.NEWS,weblink Farewell to the front line (for now), 7 February 2006, Damian, Whitworth, Times Online, 28 August 2007, London, 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.NEWS, ITV fails in bid to woo Rageh Omaar,weblink 2 January 2014, Broadcastnow, 26 February 2004, 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.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 did pieces on Sadam Hussein, his regime and weapons inspectors, giving little coverage to the Iraqi people.NEWS,weblink Question Time: Rageh Omar, 15 February 2007, Hannah, Pool, Media Guardian, London, 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".John Pilger "Why are wars not being reported honestly?", The Guardian, 10 December 2010

Al Jazeera

In September 2006, Omaar joined Al Jazeera English.WEB,weblink Rageh Omaar - Best TV Journalist Award Winner 2002-2003,, 31 July 2014, He served as a Middle Eastern correspondent for its London Division.During his time with the news organization, Omaar presented the nightly weekday documentary series Witness. He also hosted the monthly The Rageh Omaar Report, his own investigative documentaries.

ITV News

In January 2013, it was announced that Omaar would be joining ITV News as a special correspondent.NEWS, Plunkett, John, Rageh Omaar joins ITV News,weblink 20 July 2013, The Guardian, 8 January 2013, He was promoted the following year to ITV News' International Affairs Editor.NEWS, Rageh Omaar goes beyond the headlines for new ITV current affairs series, ITV Press Centre, 27 January 2014,weblink 27 January 2014, Since October 2015, alongside his duties as International Affairs Editor, Rageh has been a Deputy Newscaster of ITV News at Ten.Since September 2017 Omaar has occasionally presented the ITV Lunchtime News including the ITV News London Lunchtime Bulletin and the ITV Evening News.

Awards and nominations

In 2003, Omaar was the recipient of an Ethnic Multicultural Media Academy award for the best TV journalist.In 2008, he was also presented the Arab Media Watch Award for excellence in journalism.WEB,weblink Our writers win more awards,, 31 July 2014, In January 2014 and 2015, Omaar was nominated for the Services to Media award at the British Muslim Awards.NEWS,weblink British Muslim Awards 2014 winners, Asian Image, 31 January 2014, 1 November 2015, NEWS,weblink British Muslim Awards 2015 finalists unveiled, Asian Image, 23 January 2015, 1 November 2015,

Personal life

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

See also

Other works


  • An Islamic History of Europe,WEB,weblink BBC iPlayer - BBC Four,, 31 July 2014, TV documentary for BBC Four : August 2005
  • The Miracles of Jesus, {{webarchive |url= |date=22 August 2006 }} TV documentary for BBC One : beginning on 6 August 2006
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls. TV documentary BBC Four (Feb 2007)
  • Rageh Inside Iran,WEB,weblink Behind the Rhetoric The Real Iran BBC Documentary YouTube, 2 May 2015, TV documentary for BBC Four (Feb 2007)
  • Islam in America,WEB,weblink Islam in America - General, Al Jazeera English, 31 July 2014, TV documentary for Al Jazeera English : October 2008
  • Immigration: The Inconvenient Truth, a three part Channel 4 Dispatches documentary, on how immigration has affected Britain, using Enoch Powell's 1968 Rivers of Blood speech as a starting point (7 to 21 April 2008)
  • The Vicar of Baghdad,WEB,weblink Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East,, 26 July 2014, 31 July 2014, TV documentary ITV1 (2008)
  • Pakistan's War. TV documentary for Al Jazeera English (Mid-Winter Production 2008/09)
  • Iran Season,WEB,weblink Iran season - General, Al Jazeera English, 31 July 2014, TV documentary for Al Jazeera English: January 2009
  • (Race: Science's Last Taboo|Race and Intelligence: Science's last taboo). TV documentary for Channel 4 : October 2009.
  • The Life of Muhammad. TV documentary for BBC 2. This is a three-part series, which had its first showing on 11 July 2011 on BBC Two from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. The final edition of the series was on 25 July,on BBC 2 9 -10 pm. People on the programme included Karen Armstrong.
  • Panorama - Ivory Wars: Out of Africa,WEB,weblink BBC One - Panorama, Ivory Wars: Out of Africa,, 25 May 2012, 31 July 2014, TV current affairs documentary BBC1 : 12 April 2012
  • (The Ottomans: Europe's Muslim Emperors), BBC2, September 2013


  • 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)



External links

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