19 July 1967 |
|Alma mater||New College, Oxford|
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, Omaar 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.
Omaar was born in 1967 in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. He is the son of a wealthy businessman from the northwestern Somaliland region of Somalia. A Muslim, his family is originally from Hargeisa.
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.
He maintains close contact with his family in Somalia, is an activist for the Somali community, and regularly attends its lectures and events.
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.
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 we did pieces on Sadam Hussein, his regime and weapons inspectors, while devoting comparatively little coverage to the Iraqi people. Interviewed in John Pilger's documentary The War You Don't See (2010), Omaar also stated lamented that "one didn't press the most uncomfortable buttons hard enough" and called the coverage "a giant echo chamber".
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.
- Michael Symmons Roberts, author of the book The Miracles of Jesus that accompanies the TV series
- Race and Intelligence: Science's last taboo. TV documentary for Channel 4 : October 2009.
- Pakistan's War. TV documentary for Al Jazeera English (Mid-Winter Production 2008/09)
- Iran Season. TV documentary for Al Jazeera English : January 2009
- Islam in America. TV documentary for Al Jazeera English : October 2008
- An Islamic History of Europe. TV documentary for BBC Four : August 2005
- The Miracles of Jesus. TV documentary for BBC One : beginning on 6 August 2006
- Rageh Inside Iran. TV documentary for BBC Four
- The Dead Sea Scrolls. TV documentary BBC Four
- 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. TV documentary ITV1
- 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. 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
- "My week: Rageh Omaar". The Guardian. 12 November 2006. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- Prime Performers – Rageh Omaar
- "Somali cabinet named". Reuters. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- Whitworth, Damian (7 February 2006). "Farewell to the front line (for now)". London: Times Online. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
- "ITV fails in bid to woo Rageh Omaar". Broadcastnow. 26 February 2004. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- Pool, Hannah (15 February 2007). "Question Time: Rageh Omar". London: Media Guardian.
- John Pilger "Why are wars not being reported honestly?", The Guardian, 10 December 2010
- Rageh Omaar - Best TV Journalist Award Winner 2002-2003
- Plunkett, John (8 January 2013). "Rageh Omaar joins ITV News". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- "Rageh Omaar goes beyond the headlines for new ITV current affairs series". ITV Press Centre. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-27.
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- Interview with The Stirrer at a book signing "The Stirrer"