Bipartisan move follows decision to place sanctions on 17 Saudi nationals involved in killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi.
Funeral prayers in absentia were held for slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi in many cities around the world, including Saudi Arabia’s Mecca and Medina, two of the holiest places of Islam.
The special prayers, known as “Salat al-Ghaib” or “prayer for the absent”, were held on Friday at the Grand Mosque in Mecca and Prophet Muhammad’s mosque in Medina.
The Medina prayers were offered at dawn with the participation of Salah Khashoggi, son of the murdered Washington Post columnist.
Muslims perform the prayer when the body of the deceased has not been found. The imams at both the mosques, however, did not name Khashoggi.
Short videos of the funeral prayers, including one performed after Friday prayers in Mecca, were shared widely on Twitter.
— الزيادي (@AlziadiQ8) November 16, 2018
صلاة الغائب على الشهيد #جمال_خاشقجي في المسجد النبوي.
رحمك الله يا أبا صلاح💔 pic.twitter.com/6TfPuk7MKH
— تركي الشلهوب (@TurkiShalhoub) November 16, 2018
Funeral prayers were also held at the Fatih Mosque in the Turkish city of Istanbul and Finsbury Park mosque in north London on Friday.
Fatih Oke, a friend of Khashoggi, said the slain journalist’s family would not get closure until “justice” was delivered.
“Today we want to honour his soul, if we can honour his soul, we’ll be happy. But our needs will not end with this funeral in absentia, we are looking for real justice for Jamal’s soul, his family, for journalism, in the world.”
Al Jazeera’s London correspondent Nadim Baba said the ‘imam’, who delivered the special sermon at the Friday prayers attended by hundreds, was himself a Saudi dissident now living in the UK.
“After hearing the call by Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiance, that Muslims around the world perform the funeral prayer, we believed the right thing to do was to respond,” said Anas Altikriti, CEO of the Muslim Association of Britain.
Saudi regime under fire
Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) supposed reform programme, was killed when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain a document certifying his divorce.
Saudi authorities had initially claimed the journalist left the consulate, before backtracking and admitting on October 20 he was killed by “rogue” operatives.
On Thursday, Saudi authorities said they were seeking the death penalty for five people accused of carrying out his murder.
Turkish leaders almost immediately dismissed the announcement, with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu calling it “insufficient” and insisting the killing was “premeditated”.
Turkish officials have repeatedly said it is unlikely Khashoggi could have been killed without the knowledge of MBS, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying the orders came from “the highest levels of the Saudi government.”
According to the New York Times, a member of the Saudi team that killed Khashoggi made a phone call shortly after his death, instructing someone in Saudi Arabia to “tell your boss” that the assassination had been carried out.