Funeral prayers held for Jamal Khashoggi in Mecca and Medina

Funeral prayers have been held in absentia for slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Grand Mosque in Mecca and Prophet Muhammad’s mosque in the Saudi city of Medina, two of the holiest places of Islam.

The prayer, known as “Salat al-Ghaib” or “prayer for the absent”, was offered at dawn in Medina with the participation of Salah Khashoggi, the son of murdered Washington Post columnist.

Muslims perform the prayer when the body of the deceased has not been found.

Short videos of the funeral prayers, including one performed after Friday prayer in Mecca, were shared widely on Twitter.

Funeral prayers were also held at the Fatih Mosque in the Turkish city of Istanbul and were expected to be held at Finsbury Park mosque in London later on Friday.

Anas Altikriti, CEO of the Muslim Association of Britain, said he expected hundreds of Muslims to attend Khashoggi’s funeral prayer in London.

“After hearing the call by Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiance, that Muslims around the world perform the funeral prayer, we believed the right thing to do was to respond.”

Fatih Oke, a friend of Khashoggi, said the slain journalist’s family would not get closure until “justice” was delivered.

“Today we want to honour his soul, if we can honour his soul, we’ll be happy. But our needs will not end with this funeral in absentia, we are looking for real justice for Jamal’s soul, his family, for journalism, in the world.”

Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) supposed reform programme, was killed when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain a document certifying his divorce.

Saudi authorities had initially claimed the journalist left the consulate, before backtracking and admitting on October 20 he was killed by “rogue” operatives.

On Thursday, Saudi authorities said they were seeking the death penalty for five people accused of carrying out his murder.

Turkish leaders almost immediately dismissed the announcement, with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu calling it “insufficient” and insisting the killing was “premeditated”.

Turkish officials have repeatedly said it is unlikely Khashoggi could have been killed without the knowledge of MBS, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying the orders came from “the highest levels of the Saudi government.”

According to the New York Times, a member of the Saudi team that killed Khashoggi made a phone call shortly after his death, instructing someone in Saudi Arabia to “tell your boss” that the assassination had been carried out.

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