Washington D.C. – More than a dozen Washington, DC-based journalists gathered outside Al Jazeera’s office to commemorate the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, as news of his murder continues to spark outrage around the world.
Despite ongoing COVID-19 precautions that have seen many employees work remotely, journalists gathered Wednesday to observe a moment of silence for Abu Akleh, who was fatally shot by Israeli gunfire while covering events in the occupied West Bank. .
Colleagues held up photographs of the late journalist and handed out stickers with the slogan “Journalism is not a crime.”
“We are here to show solidarity. Our colleague Shireen Abu Akleh worked for Al Jazeera for about two decades, she was known throughout the network as an amazing human being and a fearless journalist,” said Abderrahim Foukara, Al Jazeera’s Washington DC bureau chief.
Akleh, who was Palestinian-American, had worked in the Washington, DC office for a brief period in 2016 to cover the US presidential election.
“Today is a terrible loss for her family, for Palestine and also here, she is an American citizen,” said Foukara. “It’s a terrible loss for us, her Al Jazeera colleagues, and it’s a terrible loss for journalism and journalists around the world.”
LIVE outside of Al Jazeera in DC https://t.co/9vKZVx6opN
— Ahmed Eldin | أحمد شهاب الدين (@ASE) May 11, 2022
Akleh, 51, veteran reporter for Al Jazeera was hit by a bullet on Wednesday while covering an Israeli military incursion into the northern occupied West Bank city of Jenin.
The White House strongly condemned the killing of Abu Akleh on Wednesday and called for a full investigation into his death.
Her murder, which took place while wearing a vest and helmet that clearly identified her as a journalist, has sparked outrage worldwide.
Those who worked with her and knew her personally mourned the loss of someone they said was always professional and kind.
Wajd Waqfi, White House correspondent for Al Jazeera Arabic, said the two had plans to meet in the Jordanian capital, Amman, for a short vacation later this year.
“I am still in shock from what happened to Shireen,” Waqfi said.
“Shireen was a wonderful, kind person who was sympathetic to people’s problems,” he said. “She was very hardworking. [person] who did not hesitate to do his duty.”
She said that the last message Abu Akleh sent was an email that said: “occupation forces have raided Jenin and we are on our way.”
Al Jazeera Media Network described the death of Abu Akleh as a “blatant murder” perpetrated by the Israeli occupying forces “which is only intended to prevent the media from doing their duty.” He called on the authorities to carry out an impartial investigation into his murder.
“She was elegant, calm and professional and very knowledgeable about the Palestinian conflict, its political, social and humanitarian dimensions,” said Amjad Al Malki, executive producer of Al Jazeera Arabic in Washington, DC.
“Shireen was very calm, but her calm reflected so much strength,” Al Malki said.
The National Press Club in Washington, DC is scheduled to hold a minute’s silence for Abu Akleh on Thursday, which is expected to be attended by journalists from various media organizations.