Najwa Kassem, a star television presenter on Arabic news channels Al Arabiya and Al Hadath, passed away Thursday morning at her home in Dubai.
Kassem, 52, was known for her news reporting from the Middle East, particularly the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Colleagues at Al Arabiya expressed shock at her sudden demise. She had been a recognized news anchor across the Arab region throughout her 16 year career at the news channel.
“A great and sad shock we received at the beginning of the new year ... May God have mercy on you, Najwa,” said Rima Najjar, Al Arabiya business presenter, on Twitter.
Among her accolades were an award for Best Female Presenter at the Arab Media Festival in 2006, and being nominated by local news magazine Arabian Business as one of the 100 Most Powerful Arab Women in 2011.
Condolences and messages of support soon began to appear on social media following the announcement of her death.
“Farewell, Dear Professor Najwa Kassem ... Farewell, our lady of ethics, literature, professionalism and professionalism ... Farewell, everyone’s friend ... May God have mercy on you,” said Turki Aldakhil, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador the UAE and the former general manager of Al Arabiya.
Very sad start for 2020— Asaad Hanna (@AsaadHannaa) January 2, 2020
We lost today one of the great journalists in the Arabic world.
We planned to meet in Istanbul when you visit, but that didn’t happen.
Najwa Kassem.... #RIP@najkassem pic.twitter.com/agbSbO18aE
Oh my God. The last tweet of news anchor Najwa Kassem before she passed away in her house in Dubai. A prayer for Lebanon. May Najwa rest in peace. https://t.co/Y1jg5md3Mk— The Big Pharaoh (@TheBigPharaoh) January 2, 2020
Al Arabiya issued a statement that read: “Al Arabiya and Al Arabiya Al Hadath mourn our colleague Najwa Kassem, recalling her long journalistic journey which started with the launch of Al Arabiya in 2003 as a broadcaster and field reporter.”
“May God have mercy on our colleague … and give her family patience and solace.”
Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri expressed his sympathies for Kassem, who previously worked for Lebanese channel Future TV, in a post on Twitter.
“It’s really shocking and saddening that Najwa Kassem left in the glory of [her] giving and youth. She accompanied the journey of Future TV since its foundation and was a shining star on its screen before moving to Dubai, where she continued to excel and succeed. [This is a] loss for us and the Lebanese and Arab media. May God have mercy on Najwa Kassem and my warmest condolences to her family and the family of Al Arabiya and Al Hadath,” Hariri said in a tweet.