Famous Saudi writer, businessman Abdul Maqsoud Khoja died at 86

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Riyadh, The Gulf Observer: Several prominent figures, including writers, cultural figures, businessmen and social media activists mourned the death of eminent Saudi writer and businessman Abdul-Maqsoud Khoja. He was 86, Khoja died in a hospital in the United States of America.

Khoja is regarded as one of the most important symbols of the cultural movement in the Kingdom. He has led several cultural and social activities in Saudi Arabia, most notably the establishment of Ithnainiyah Literary Cultural Forum in Jeddah in 1982. He was also the founder and chairman of the Khojah Group, a Jeddah-based real estate development company.

Born in Makkah in 1936, Khoja held several Saudi government positions before quitting the job to switch over to business. These included the delegate of the Saudi Royal Court to the Saudi Commission in Beirut; representative of the press office of the Saudi embassy in Lebanon; and director of the General Directorate for Broadcasting, Press and Publication in Jeddah before the establishment of the ministries of culture and information.

The International Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature (Adab) noted in a condolence message that Khoja offered remarkable contributions to the Arab thought and literature through his famous Ithnainiyah Forum, which honored around 452 writers and cultural figures from all over the world. “May God bestow him forgiveness and mercy and accommodate him in His Paradise, and give his bereaved family members and relatives patience and solace to bear with this loss,” Adab said in a statement on its Twitter account.

The Modern Literature Association in Cairo awarded Khoja an honorary fellowship in appreciation of his efforts in sponsoring the literary and intellectual movement in the Kingdom. Ithnainiyah Forum was honored as a cultural institution by the Ministry of Information in 2010.

Khoja documented all these honoring events and meetings with distinguished personalities and printed them in a series of books. There are a total of 185 volumes of Ithnainiyah publications. He was also interested in collecting and documenting the literary works of old Saudi writers, and presented them to interested readers for free of charge. In 2013, Khoja had given nine manuscripts dating back more than 500 years ago as a gift to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) in order to showcase them in one of its public museums.