Asmaa al-Ghoul is a Palestinian journalist and secular feminist. Al-Ghoul is known for her vocal criticism of Hamas and Fatah, which has led to her imprisonment, interrogation, death threats, and attacks. Described by The New York Times as “known for her defiant stance against the violations of civil rights in Gaza," al-Ghoul is the recipient of the 2012 Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation. She currently works at the Samir Kassir Foundation, a Lebanese organization that defends and promotes free press in the Arab world.
An outspoken advocate for democratic reform in Gaza, al-Ghoul exposes human rights violations in Gaza in her articles published on numerous press sites. Because of her work, her own uncle, an influential member of Hamas, threatened her life.
In 2009, al-Ghoul was stopped and interrogated by Hamas after walking on a public beach with friends. Al-Ghoul, who permanently stopped wearing a hijab in 2006, was wearing jeans and a t-shirt when she was stopped. The male friends accompanying her were detained, beaten, and forced to sign statements saying that they would not “violate public moral standards." In 2011, Hamas security forces beat al-Ghoul on two occasions while she worked to cover political rallies.
Al-Ghoul was awarded the Palestinian Youth Literature award at the age of 18. In 2010, she won the Hellman/Hammet award from Human Rights Watch for her courage in criticizing the political leadership in Gaza.