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Abd al-Bari Atwan
Born Abd al-Bari Atwan
February 17, 1950 (1950-02-17) (age 59)
Deir el-Balah, Gaza Strip
Residence London, England, UK
Nationality British
Other names Abdel Bari Atwan
Occupation Journalist
Employer Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper
Known for Newspaper Editor-in-Chief
Religious beliefs Sunni Muslim
Website Arabic:

Abdel al-Bari Atwan (Arabic: عبد الباري عطوان‎) is the editor-in chief of the London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi.


Personal and career background

He was born on February 17, 1950 in Deir el-Balah, a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, two years after the creation of Israel. His Palestinian parents Zilfa and Muhammad Atwan lived in the Palestinian seaside village of Isdud.

He was one of 11 children. After receiving his primary school education at the camp, his schooling was continued first in Jordan in 1967, and then in Cairo, Egypt.

In 1970 he entered Cairo University where he studied journalism and also received a diploma in English-Arabic translation. After his graduation he started work as a journalist, first with the al-Balaagh newspaper in Libya, then with al-Madina in Saudi Arabia. In 1978, he moved to London, where he has lived ever since, and assumed a job with al-Sharq al-Awsat, a major Saudi-owned international daily. In 1980 he set up the London office of al-Madina and in 1984 returned to al-Sharq al-Awsat.

In 1989, al-Quds al-Arabi was founded by expatriate Palestinians and Abd al-Bari Atwan was offered the job as editor-in-chief, which he has held since. The paper has as of 2007 grown into one of the major pan-Arab dailies, and is known for its strident Arab nationalism and defense of the Palestinian cause. It has been banned and censored repeatedly in several Arab countries for vocal criticism of what the paper alleges is their autocratic rule and excessive deference to Israel and the USA. As editor of al-Quds al-Arabi, Abd al-Bari Atwan has become a well-known Arab public figure, and is a regular guest on Dateline London on BBC World, Sky News, Al Jazeera English and CNN World, as well as on several Arabic-language networks.

Bin Laden interview

In 1996 Abd al-Bari Atwan interviewed Usama bin Laden. He had to travel through the mountains, dressed in Afghan clothing. He later called the experience his "most frightening trip". His impression of bin Laden was that he is "a phenomenon, extreme".[1][2] He stayed in the caves for four days, sleeping in primitive conditions in sub-zero temperatures.[3]

Political opinions

  • In his book, The Secret History of al-Qa'ida Atwan states, "I do not endorse or in any way support al-Qa'ida's agenda" and "I utterly condemn the attacks on innocent citizens in the West".[4]
  • During the 1990-91 Kuwait war, al-Quds al-Arabi gained some fame because of its outspoken opposition to the American-led attack. Though the paper did not approve of the Iraqi invasion and annexation of Kuwait, the UN-backed intervention was seen as intrusive and a meddling in Arab affairs.
  • On the fifth anniversary of the New York 9/11 attack Atwan opined: "The events of 11 September will be remembered as the end of the US empire. This is because all empires collapse when they pursue the arrogance of power." [6]
  • In an interview with MBC TV on November 28, 2006 (as translated by MEMRI), Atwan stated that "If the Iranian missiles strike Israel – by Allah, I will go to Trafalgar Square, and dance with delight if the Iranian missiles strike Israel."[7][8]

Brisbane visa affair

In a scheduled visit to the Brisbane Writers Festival in September 2007 Atwan's visa was reported as being blocked [9] by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). Subsequently this turned out to be over-enthusiastic reporting. Mr Atwan had in fact only been delayed by ASIO for less than four weeks. ASIO is reported to have said "It is false to suggest it's anything to do with the media campaign or conspiracy theories, We had to seek some additional information. Dr Atwan's application was treated like everybody else's".[10]


  • The Secret History of Al-Qa'ida, Abdel Bari Atwan, Abacus (2006), ISBN 978-0-34-912035-5
  • A Country of Words: The Life of Abdel Bari Atwan: A Palestinian Journey from the Refugee Camp to the Front Page, Abdel Bari Atwan, SAQI (25 September 2008), ISBN 978-0-86-356621-9


  1. ^ Brisbane Writers' Festival September 2007
  2. ^ Bari Atwan Guardian column on his interview
  3. ^ Brisbane Writers Festival September 2007
  4. ^ The Secret History of Al-Qa'ida, Abdel Bari Atwan, Abacus (2006), ISBN 978-0-34-912035-5, p1
  5. ^ Al-Quds Newspaper mourns the death of Saddam
  6. ^ Press blasts US foreign policy, BBC News website 11 September 2006
  7. ^ London editor prays for nuclear attack on Israel, Jerusalem Post, August 28, 2007.
  8. ^ London editor: I’d celebrate Israel’s nuking, Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), August 29, 2007.
  9. ^ Sydney Morning Herald: ASIO ban on terrorism expert by David Marr, 13 September 2007
  10. ^ Sydney Morning Herald: Atwan allowed to enter Australia 14 September 2007. Australian Associated Press Pty Limited

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Abdul Bari Atwan (born February 17, 1950) is the editor-in chief of the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi.


  • I am very pleased to see Blair leaving 10 Downing Street. Really, this man caused the greatest humiliation to the Arabs and Muslims, besides George Bush – and maybe even more than him. He is the only one in the Western world who supported Bush's wars in the Arab region. It was Tony Blair who encouraged the Americans to invade Iraq, and to wage the current war in it. This man employed lies, deceit, and deception. He discovered the British people and the entire world.[...]How can you reward this man by appointing him envoy to the Middle East? It is like a criminal who returns to the scene of the crime. You are sending Blair back to the scene of his crime. This is a problem. He should be pelted with rotten eggs and tomatoes, rather than receive this honor, because he destroyed us, and he hates us, as Arabs and Muslims.
  • We do not know how many children and women need for Israel to kill and dismember their bodies with rocket-aircraft missiles, tanks and even tells thirst, to stop this brutal aggression on the Gaza Strip.[1]
  • The Palestinian National Authority in Ramallah has become one of acting as the cantons of the former apartheid regime in South Africa, watching it from afar, but only to send food and medical aid to the sector, and to support the Egyptian initiative to stop the war. The authority did not exert any kind of pressure on our friends in Israel, but on the contrary, it facilitated the task of aggression suppression of protest demonstrations in the cities of the West Bank. [2]


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