Abdalaziz Alhamza
Position:
Visiting Scholar, MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
Department:
Regional Security
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Abdalaziz Alhamza is an award-winning Syrian journalist, human rights defender and activist. He is the co-founder and spokesperson of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) which is a nonpartisan, independent organization that exposes the atrocities committed by the Bashar Al-Assad regime and ISIS in Syria.

Alhamza started non-violent protests and demonstrations against the Syrian regime in 2011 and was arrested by the regime three times in 2012. The Islamic State (ISIS) interrogated him more than once about his activism. After ISIS took control of his hometown, Raqqa, in January 2014, he escaped to Turkey and started RBSS with his friends to show the reality of life in Raqqa under ISIS rule to the rest of the world. Their smuggled video footage and images for which they risked their lives have been shown on every television network and print media including CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, MSNBC, Fox news, CBS and other TV channels.

Alhamza appeared in many TV interviews as a terrorism and extremism expert. Alhamza has received many awards and honors on behalf of RBSS including: the International Press Freedom award by the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2015; named a Global Thinker by Foreign Policy; the Ischia International Journalism Award in 2016; the Civil Courage Prize in 2016; and many others.

Alhamza was the subject of the documentary City Of Ghosts, directed by Oscar-nominated director Matthew Heineman, and bought by Amazon Studios (available on Prime). City Of Ghosts was named to the Oscar Documentary Feature shortlist in 2018.

Alhamza was featured in The New Yorker, Wired ,BILD and published an Op-Ed in The New York Times entitled “Bombs Will Not Defeat ISIS (but Maybe the Internet Will).”

He has spoken around the world about ISIS and how to combat extremist ideology including at the White House, the United Nations, the United States Congress, the American National Security Council, the German Foreign Office, the Italian Foreign Ministry and the Oslo Freedom Forum, among other places.

 

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