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Ayman Mohyeldin (Arabic: أيمن محيى الدين, IPA: [ˈʔæjmæn ˈmoħj edˈdiːn]; born April 18, 1979) is an American journalist based in New York for NBC News and MSNBC. He previously worked for Al Jazeera and CNN. Ayman was one of the first Western journalists allowed to enter and report on the handing over and trial of the deposed President of Iraq Saddam Hussein by the Iraqi Interim Government for crimes against humanity. Ayman has also covered the 2008–09 Gaza War as well as the Arab Spring.
Mohyeldin at the 2011 Time 100 gala
Mohyeldin was born in Cairo, Egypt, to an Egyptian father, Medhat Mohyeldin, and a Palestinian mother, Abla Awwad. His father is a certified public accountant in Marietta, Georgia. Mohyeldin has an older brother, Ahmed, who is a resident neurosurgeon at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and former professional soccer star for the Atlanta Silverbacks. Mohyeldin lived in Egypt until the age of 5 when his parents emigrated to the U.S. He attended North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Mohyeldin received his undergraduate education at American University in Washington D.C., earning a BA in International Relations with a focus on the European Union. He received an MA in International Politics with a focus on Peace and Conflict Resolution. His graduate thesis was entitled, "The News Media Paradigm in the War on Terrorism," and, in 2002, it was accepted by the International Association of Media Researchers Conference in Barcelona, Spain. He lived in Iraq from 2003–2005 as a foreign news producer with CNN.
Mohyeldin began his career in journalism working at NBC, as a desk assistant for the Washington D.C. bureau. Mohyeldin's first major assignments happened shortly after 9/11. In an interview with PRWeek, Ayman describes the opportunities that arose in the aftermath of 9/11: "There was a real shortage of people with language skills or expertise in the Middle East. Just because of my language skills and the timing, so to speak, I got a lot of experience. I was thrown into a mix of things that normally desk assistants at my level would not have gotten. I started working on some big pieces that had to do with investigating 9/11 and all kinds of international terrorist connections... I was doing translation mostly, but I was also developing themes or threads to stories that either had some Middle East connection to them or some type of Arabic language skills required. So it was an unbelievable experience at a really young age."
Mohyeldin's coverage of major news events in the Arab World and Middle East include the Iraq War, the first multi-candidate presidential Egyptian elections in 2005, Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the 2005 Palestinian elections in the Gaza Strip. He has covered the Sharm al-Sheikh resort bombing (July 2005) and the Jordan Hotel bombings (November 2005).
As a producer, Mohyeldin became the first journalist to enter one of Libya's nuclear research facilities after producing Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi's first interview announcing Libya would abandon all WMD programs. Mohyeldin's work in the CNN documentary "Iraq:progress report" about the daily struggles of Iraqis during the war was nominated for an Emmy Award. He served as an associate producer for the NBC News Special that also received Emmy nominations for "Ship at War: Inside the Carrier Stennis" and "Inside the Real West Wing." Mohyeldin has also covered the annual Muslim Pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca and was involved in the production of CNN specials "Islam: The Struggle Within" and "Hajj: A Spiritual Journey."
In 2008–2009, Mohyeldin covered the Israeli attack on Gaza. The coverage of his reporting, along with Sherine Tadros has been released in the documentary " The War Around Us". He reported on the intricate network of tunnels that were once used for smuggling of weapons and people across the Egyptian-Gaza border and are now a vital route into Gaza for medicine, food and fuel supplies.
In 2011, Mohyeldin left Al Jazeera English and returned to NBC where he extensively covered the second "Arab Uprising" in Egypt in 2013. He also covered the unrest in Ukraine, and most recently the unrest in Iraq.
2011 Egyptian revolutionEdit
Mohyeldin covered the 2011 Egyptian Revolution for Al Jazeera English. On January 28, 2011, Ayman broadcast from the Al Jazeera news building in Cairo for several hours straight, reporting on the Egyptian protests as protesters and Egyptian police battled for control of the 6th October Bridge. On January 30, Anis El Fekki of the Egyptian Interior Ministry revoked Al Jazeera's broadcast license and forced the closure of their Cairo bureau, claiming the network was conspiring with opposition groups to overthrow the government. Ayman was one of five Al Jazeera journalists arrested and briefly detained by Egyptian authorities the following day, after the network refused to cease broadcasting upon the loss of their accreditation.
On September 20, 2011, Mohyeldin rejoined NBC News, where his career began.
In the summer of 2013 Ayman extensively covered the removal of President Mohamed Morsi from power In Egypt. That fall he also extensively covered the Syrian civil war and the effects of refugees overflowing into neighboring Lebanon. Mohyeldin also covered the agreement of Syria to dispose of their chemical weapons program.
During the uprisings in Ukraine in 2014, Ayman covered extensively in both Kiev and Donetsk. He traveled to the border in Eastern Ukraine and reported on Russian troop buildup, and the Ukrainian response. He also went "behind the scenes" into the occupied government buildings to report.
2014 Israel–Gaza conflictEdit
On July 16, 2014, Mohyeldin witnessed and reported via a series of tweets, the death of 4 Palestinian children who were playing soccer and hide-and-seek on a Gaza beach during the 2014 conflict. The first missile killed one child and the second killed the other 3. The killings were witnessed by many in the international press. Just moments earlier Mohyeldin was kicking a soccer ball with these boys in front of his hotel. The Israeli government claims that the beach was shelled in response to Hamas rocket fire originating from that area.
Although Mohyeldin was a live witness to the event, NBC correspondent Richard Engel reported the story from Tel Aviv. NBC followed by pulling Mohyeldin from Gaza and terminating his reporting duties from Gaza indefinitely. Engel was sent to replace him in Gaza. NBC has been subsequently criticized by independent media outlets for removing Mohyeldin. NBC has not explained its actions and reasons for pulling Mohyeldin.
Mohyeldin was returned to Gaza on July 18, 2014, after NBC received heavy criticism for pulling him out of Gaza. NBC has offered no justification for either pulling him from Gaza, nor sending him back. On Sunday, August 3, 2014, Ayman announced via social media that after 4 weeks on the road he was "taking time to be with family.." Less than 48 hours later, Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease fire.
In the fall of 2014 Ayman moved to New York City to expand his role at NBC/MSNBC.
2015 Chris Kyle commentsEdit
On a January 29, 2015, interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mohyeldin said of Chris Kyle, subject of the movie American Sniper: "If you don’t know anything about Chris Kyle, if you don’t know this was a true story, this was a great movie," Mohyeldin said. "But, when you juxtapose it with the real Chris Kyle in the story and what has emerged about what kind of personality he was in his own words — very far from reality."
Mohyeldin suggested that the real Kyle may have had "racist tendencies" toward Iraqis and Muslims, which could have caused him to go on "some of these, you know, killing sprees in Iraq on assignment." Host Joe Scarborough challenged Mohyeldin’s claim that Kyle went on killing sprees, and ended the segment saying, "All right, when we come back, Ayman is going to kick around Santa Claus".
On February 10, 2015, a letter signed by 22 retired generals and admirals, a former deputy under secretary of defense for intelligence, and dozens of other officers was sent to NBC parent Comcast, demanding an apology. The letter included a statement that "Mohyeldin's statements were an inexcusable slap in the face to the widow of Chris Kyle and to all those in the armed forces who continue to serve our country in harm's way. Such rants do not add anything to a thoughtful discussion of public policy regarding Iraq."
Allegation of bias during live news reportEdit
In October 2015 Ayman Mohyeldin was accused of false reporting and bias during live coverage of report where a Palestinian man wearing camouflaged clothing sprung out from a group of Israeli soldiers, wielding a knife and was subsequently shot. Mohyeldin initially reported that from where he was standing and the boy was lying he did not see a knife in the boy's open hands after he saw the dead body. However he was interrupted on air by another MSNBC journalist who ran a picture of the assailant holding what seemed to be a knife in the air before he was killed. Following the MSNBC journalist's interruption, Mohyeldin reiterated that the assailant did not have a knife in his hands after he was dead and secured by the Israeli police.
Following his coverage of the June 2016 Tel Aviv shooting, an Israeli newspaper, The Jerusalem Post, criticized Mohyeldin for going "on a rambling, 35 second stream of conscious in which he managed to squeeze in four mentions of 'the occupation' and three mentions of Israeli politics 'shifting to the right' or the 'extreme right,' while talking of Palestinian 'frustration' and Israeli oppression."
- Al Jazeera Field Correspondents Al Jazeera
- Hundreds die in Israel raid on Gaza Al Jazeera
- "Ohio State Neurosurgery Residencies". Ohio University. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
- Field, Lindsay. "North Cobb graduate covers Egypt for NBC". The Marietta Daily Journal. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
- Interview: Ayman Mohyeldin Brand Republic
- Al Jazeera Reporters Arrested Archived February 1, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Bikya Masr. Staff. February 1, 2011
- "Ayman Mohyeldin on his detention - Middle East - Al Jazeera English". english.aljazeera.net. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
- "Live blog Feb 6 - Egypt protests | Al Jazeera Blogs". Blogs.aljazeera.net. Archived from the original on 6 February 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- "Japan nuclear crisis". BBC News. March 26, 2011.
- Stelter, Brian (22 August 2011). "Al Jazeera Star Correspondent Rejoins NBC". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
- NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin answers reader questions from Syria
- Visceral accounts of Gaza attack that killed 4 boys The New York Times
- Israeli strike kills four children at a Gaza beach The Washington Post
- Gaza strip beach explosion kills children The New York Times
- No charges over Palestinian children killed in Gaza beach bombing Deutsche Welle
- Innocent gone Israeli strike gaza kills four children NBC News
- Ayman Mohyeldin pulled Gaza NY Mag
- NBC News Gaza Mohyeldin explanation Baltimore Sun
- Bedard, Paul (February 10, 2015). "Brass demand NBC apology over claim sniper Kyle was 'racist' on 'killing sprees'". Washington Examiner. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- Rosenbaum, Sophia (February 10, 2015). "NBC under fire over reporter's claim sniper Chris Kyle was 'racist'". New York Post. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- Feldman, Josh (October 15, 2015). "MSNBC's Ayman Mohyeldin Corrected On-Air After Suggesting Dead Palestinian Terrorist Wasn't Armed".
- "International coverage of Sarona Market angers Israel activists, public diplomacy groups". Jerusalem Post. 2016-06-09. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
- Al Shatti, Nouriah. "Mabrouk! Tunisian Model Kenza Fourati is a Married Woman". Style.com/Arabia. Archived from the original on October 24, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
- Khaoula Ghanem, "Kenza Fourati Shares Her Pregnancy Secrets", Vogue Arabia, November 16, 2016
- Chris Ariens, "NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin and Supermodel Wife Welcome Baby Daughter", TVNewser, Mar. 14, 2017
- Gazze'yi tek başına savunan gazeteci! Haber vaktim
- GAZA STRIP: In praise of Al Jazeera, Part 1 LA Times
- GAZA STRIP: In praise of Al Jazeera, Part 2 LA Times
- For Civilians, 'There Is No Safe Zone In Gaza' NPR
- Gideon Levy / My hero of the Gaza war Haarretz
- Twilight Zone / Trumpeting for war Haarretz
- Al Jazeera provides an inside look at Gaza conflict The International Herald Tribune
- Al Jazeera English Beats Israel's Ban on Reporters in Gaza with Exclusive Coverage The Huffington Post
- Al-Jazeera becomes the face of the frontline Financial Times
- Gazze büyük bir hapishane Haber vaktim
- Twitter page of Ayman Mohyeldin
- The Dangers and Difficulties of Reporting from Gaza - video by Democracy Now!
- Appearances on C-SPAN