Rageh Omaar

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Rageh Omaar
Rageh Omaar.jpg
Born (1967-07-19) 19 July 1967 (age 55)
Alma materNew College, Oxford
OccupationJournalist, author

Rageh Omaar (/ˈræɡi ˈmɑːr/; Somali: Raage Oomaar; Arabic: راجح أومار; 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[edit]

Omaar was born in 1967 in Mogadishu to Abdullahi and Sahra Omaar. His father was an accountant who became a businessman, a representative of Massey Ferguson tractors, founder of the country's first independent newspaper, and was responsible for introducing Coca Cola to Somalia.[1][2] A Muslim, his family is originally from Hargeisa.[3] Omaar belongs to a prominent family that hails from the Sa'ad Musa sub-division of the Habr Awal Isaaq clan.[citation needed]

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.[4]


Omaar was educated at the Dragon School, Oxford, and Cheltenham College in Gloucestershire. He then studied Modern History at New College, Oxford.[3]



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.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7]

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 Saddam Hussein, his regime and weapons inspectors, giving little coverage to the Iraqi people.[7] 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".[8]

Al Jazeera[edit]

In September 2006, Omaar joined Al Jazeera English.[9] He served as a Middle Eastern correspondent for its London Division.[3]

During his time with the news organization, Omaar presented the nightly weekday documentary series Witness.[9] He also hosted the monthly The Rageh Omaar Report, his own investigative documentaries.[3]

ITV News[edit]

In January 2013, it was announced that Omaar would be joining ITV News as a special correspondent.[10] He was promoted the following year to ITV News' International Affairs Editor.[11]

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[edit]

In 2003, Omaar was the recipient of an Ethnic Multicultural Media Academy award for the best TV journalist.[9]

In 2008, he was also presented the Arab Media Watch Award for excellence in journalism.[12]

In January 2014 and 2015, Omaar was nominated for the Services to Media award at the British Muslim Awards.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

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 Somaliland, is an activist for the Somali community, and regularly attends its lectures and events.[1]

Other works[edit]



  • 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. ^ "Rageh Omaar: 'Nothing prepares you for becoming a parent. I just sobbed'". TheGuardian.com. 20 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d "Prime Performers – Rageh Omaar". Primeperformersagency.co.uk. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Somali cabinet named". Reuters. 21 January 2009. Archived from the original on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  5. ^ Whitworth, Damian (7 February 2006). "Farewell to the front line (for now)". Times Online. London. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
  6. ^ "ITV fails in bid to woo Rageh Omaar". Broadcastnow. 26 February 2004. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  7. ^ a b Pool, Hannah (15 February 2007). "Question Time: Rageh Omar". London: Media Guardian.
  8. ^ John Pilger "Why are wars not being reported honestly?", The Guardian, 10 December 2010
  9. ^ a b c "Rageh Omaar - Best TV Journalist Award Winner 2002-2003". Emmainteractive.com. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  10. ^ Plunkett, John (8 January 2013). "Rageh Omaar joins ITV News". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Rageh Omaar goes beyond the headlines for new ITV current affairs series". ITV Press Centre. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  12. ^ Matthias, Sue (May 2008). "Our writers win more awards". New Statesman. 137 (4898): 6.
  13. ^ "British Muslim Awards 2014 winners". Asian Image. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  14. ^ "British Muslim Awards 2015 finalists unveiled". Asian Image. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  15. ^ "BBC iPlayer - BBC Four". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  16. ^ [1] Archived 22 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Behind the Rhetoric The Real Iran BBC Documentary YouTube". YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 May 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Islam in America - General". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  19. ^ "Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East". Frrme.org. 26 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  20. ^ "Iran season - General". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  21. ^ "BBC One - Panorama, Ivory Wars: Out of Africa". Bbc.co.uk. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2014.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by International Affairs Editor, ITV News
2014 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by Deputy Newscaster, ITV News at Ten
2015 – present
Succeeded by