Ahmad Mouaz Al-Khatib Al-Hasani (Arabic: أحمد معاذ الخطيب, born 1960) is the President of the National Coalition for Opposition Forces and the Syrian Revolution. He is a former imam of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.
Al-Khatib originally studied applied geophysics and worked as an engineer for six years. He is a member of the Syrian Geological Society and the Syrian Society for Psychological Science. He was previously President and remains Honorary President of the Islamic Society of Urbanization.
Early Life and Career
Born in 1960, Khatib comes from a well-known Sunni Muslim Damascene family. His father, Sheikh Mohammed Abu al-Faraj al-Khatib, was a prominent Islamic scholar and preacher.
Khatib originally studied geophysics. He spent six years working as an engineer. He is also a member of the Syrian Geological Society and the Syrian Society for Psychological Science, and was president of the Islamic Society of Urbanization. His status as the former imam makes him a key figure in Syria's religious establishment.
He later became prominent as an Islamic preacher, and became the preacher of the Umayyad Mosque in the early 1990s. After he was banned from preaching during the rule of Mr Assad's father, the late Hafez al-Assad, Khatib began to teach Islam secretly.
Khatib also established the Islamic Civilization Society, and taught Sharia (Islamic Law) at the Sheikh Badr al-Din al-Husni Institute in Damascus, and Daawa (Call to Islam) at the Tahzib Institute for Sharia Sciences. He traveled internationally to teach including Bosnia-Hercegovina, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Turkey, the UK and the USA.
The Syrian journalist and writer Rana Kabbani, a long time friend of Khatib, said "Over the years, we have had a very intense political conversation about what needed to be done in Syria, long discussions about what was wrong with the society and what could be done about it. He was my window into Syria at a time when I couldn't physically go there." Kabbani continued to say"He comes from an area in the old city of Damascus, a part of the city that was noted for its advocacy against French colonialists, producing freedom fighters. It was a traditional Damascene Muslim scene, a devout Sunni area with a long history of resistance. "He cared very deeply about the victims of the 1982 massacre [in the Syrian city of Hama]. He was always seeking for ways to house or educate those [survivors] that the state wanted killed or banished."