A street in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C. might soon be named after Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, who was reportedly killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
On Wednesday, a D.C. neighborhood group approved a resolution to symbolically name part of a street in front of the Embassy of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as “Jamal Khashoggi Way.” The embassy is located at 601 New Hampshire Avenue NW.
Khashoggi was killed on October 2 soon after he entered the Saudi consulate premises in Istanbul. He was visiting his country’s diplomatic mission in order to receive some documents required for his upcoming marriage.
The seven-member Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A, which is part of the D.C. government, passed the resolution unanimously. The commission usually deals with local issues, but Commissioner James Harnett told CNN they were outraged by the murder of Khashoggi and the reaction of President Donald J. Trump.
“I think our concern … and the need to say we want to weigh in on this issue, which has international implications, is that we are extremely disappointed over the lack of concern in the White House’s response to the incident,” said Harnett. “It’s our belief … that when there’s a vacuum of leadership that someone steps up and makes sure that the community knows that this is something that we take seriously.”
Naming the street after the slain journalist, Harnett expects, will serve as a constant reminder to the Saudi officials that Khashoggi’s killing is not forgotten by the U.S., and will also reaffirm America’s commitment to freedom of the press.
“This action will force the Saudis to remember, every day. This assault on the press is unforgivable and is deeply harmful to fabric of the truth. Leaders at all levels of government need to stand up in whatever ways they can to support people, make their lives better, and push for what’s right,” said Harnett. “Up against the leaders who have abandoned their duty, this proposal is our way of pushing back.”
Last month an online petition was started to rename the street after Khashoggi. The petition has reached almost 10,000 signatures so far. The petition is signed by Michael Werz, a senior national security fellow at the Center for American Progress, and Gary Schmitt, a resident scholar in strategic studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
Renaming the street after the murdered journalist, the petition says, will act as “a daily reminder to Saudi officials that such behavior is totally unacceptable and as an expression of Washington’s unstinting support for freedom of the press.”
The D.C. city council will take a call on the approved resolution. The council can take six to nine months to vote on the resolution after which the mayor has to sign it into a law, according to Harnett. The Congress then has to approve the law, as is the case with all laws in the District of Columbia, said Harnett.