Moroccan-German Journalist Wins International Leadership Award

Moroccan-German journalist Souad Mekhennet. Photo credit: Simon Wiesenthal Center / Twitter

Rabat – The Moroccan-German journalist and writer Souad Mekhennet received the International Leadership Award, presented by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, on Tuesday, January 14, in Los Angeles, United States.

The journalist said she is honored to be the youngest person and first person of Muslim descent to receive the award.

“In Los Angeles, I received the ‘International Leadership Award’ from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in the Museum of Tolerance, for my journalistic work and for the search for a Most Wanted Nazi. Youngest award winner and first person of Muslim descent. Thank you,” Mekhennet tweeted.

The 42-year-old journalist is known for reporting international issues, including extremism, radicalization, and terrorism.

The writer published a book entitled “The Eternal Nazi From Mauthausen to Cairo, the Relentless Pursuit of SS Doctor Aribert Heim” in 2014. In her book, Mekhennet narrates how she found Nazi officer Aribert Heim, accused of war crimes against Jews, in Egypt.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is a Jewish human rights organization established in 1977. The center’s mission is “researching the Holocaust and hate in a historic and contemporary context, and confronting anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism.”

Mekhennet’s journalism career started by reporting conflicts and terrorist attacks in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, and German television channel ZDF.

The journalist has also interviewed several terrorist leaders and jihadists. She was part of a team of reporters who revealed the true identity of an ISIS militant, Jihadi John.

Mekhennet co-published the series “Inside the Jihad,” where she interviewed various jihadist leaders, including the head of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The book was released between 2007 and 2008.

Born in 1978 to a Turkish mother and a Moroccan father, Mekhennet grew up in Germany where she studied journalism at the Henri Nannen School for Journalism in Hamburg and the Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt. She also spent some of her childhood with her grandparents in Meknes, Morocco.