Who was Nahed Hattar?

Who was Nahed Hattar?
A controversial Jordanian satirist who moved to his 'second home' in Lebanon due to security threats, Nahed Hattar has sparked controversy throughout his life.
2 min read
25 September, 2016
Hattar had strong views on political Islam and was pro-Assad [al-Araby al-Jadeed]

Nahed Hattar was a Jordanian satirist and journalist for Lebanese pro-Syrian regime newspaper al-Akhbar, who was gunned down in central Amman on Sunday.

The 56-year-old was a famous figure in Jordan, for his often offensive articles and publications, which resulted in him being banned from writing in his home country. 

His killing outside a Jordanian court in Amman this morning does not appears to be directly linked to his writing, but instead of a controversial cartoon he posted to Facebook in August.

It was not the first assassination attempt made against him by Salafis who disagreed with his comments and writings, which many viewed as Islamophobic.

The cartoon which appears to have resulted in his death was entitled 'Lord of Daesh [IS]'.

It shows an image of a carricature of a Islamic State group militant reclining on a bed between two women in heaven, as God asks him if he wants anything. The IS member gives out various orders, including a demand for more wine. Hattar did not create the cartoon, but re-posted it to his Facebook account.

"There were two types of people who were offended by the cartoon: good people who didn't understand the intended irony and those that despise the terrorist mind, and to both of these groups I offer my respect and appreciation," Hattar said and later withdrew the cartoon. 

Hattar was outspoken and controversial in many ways throughout his career. He routinely wrote articles that offended the Jordanian royal family.

In it, Hattar describes the arrests and torture under King Hussein - the current ruler's father - before going on to list the reasons why some "liberals" were not upset to hear about the Hashemite ruler's death.

He was also an outspoken supporter of the Syrian regime and President Bashar al-Assad, and wrote a number of times against IS and their supporters.

Hattar with Assad
Hattar shaking hands with Assad [al-Araby al-Jadeed]

Hattar came from a Christian family, but expressed various atheist views throughout his life. He studied contemporary Salafi ideology at the University of Jordan and, although he was a Marxist ideologist at the beginning of his life, he later published articles where he criticised Arab Marxists for their 'disengagement'.