Educated locally and then at Algiers where he began his medical studies in 1949 and proceeded to Paris to graduate after specialising in dermatology in 1955. He grew up in a family of modest means, which was yet in contrast intellectually and spiritually wealthy. His father, Sheikh Bashir Ibrahimi, a renowned scholar, was already fighting the French colonialism not with a military weapon but with his sharp pen and voice. He was Deputy President and later President of the “Association of the Oulemaa”, whose main objective was to build schools in order to inform & educate the populace, raise awareness about the Arabic heritage & a moderate Islam, and free Algeria from the shackles of colonialism. Because of his militant activities, the French occupiers extradited him numerous times, and assigned him under house arrest for “spreading subversion.” This in turn obliged the family to be scattered around the country.
As a child and an adolescent, Ahmed quickly acquired from his father a precious knowledge and a general culture which he will later rely and build on. In the late 40’s, he passed his Baccalaureate exam and went on studying medicine. In 1954 he moved to Paris to further his medical education, and after that he earned a degree in Hematology, interning at few Parisian hospitals.
One of the intellectuals in government, twice imprisoned for his political principles—first in a French gaol as a detainee alongside Ben Bella, then after independence in an Algerian gaol, where he was tortured after being sent there on Ben Bella's orders. A sensitive man who graduated as a doctor and became a skin specialist but also a man of literary talent who worked as a journalist and wrote movingly of his ordeal in prison.
Although shy and not at ease before the mass media, he worked hard in 1973 to put across the importance of Algeria’s second four-year plan for 1974-1978 to the people through Press and television.
As one of the editorial board of the “Young Moslem” from 1952 to 1954 he became first president of the General Union of Algerian Moslem Students (UGEMA) in 1955. His nationalist activities as co-director of the National Liberation Front (FLN) in France led to his imprisonment from 1957 to 1961. He was first in Paris at the Sante Prison with Ben Bella and then at Fresnes with Rabat Bitat.
After his release he became a member of the Algerian delegation to the United Nations in 1962. On his return to Algeria he was strongly opposed to the cult of personality and abandoned politics to resume medicine at the Mustapha Hospital at Algiers as a blood specialist and as a lecturer at the medical faculty of Algiers University. In June 1964 he was arrested and endured harsh treatment, including torture, in prison. Freed a year later, he related his experiences in “Letters from Prison” published in 1966.
His political fortunes improved immediately after Boumedienne came to power in July 1965. He was appointed Minister of National Education in Boumedienne’s first government and held the post for five years. He gave fresh impetus to the school building programme, the campaign against illiteracy and the promotion of Arabic studies. In 1968 he became a member of the executive council of UNESCO. His enthusiasm for Arabic resulted in his being made a corresponding member of the Arab Academy at Damascus.
Since his appointment to the Information Ministry he has had spells of poor health but has still spent much time seeking new ways of projecting Algeria’s achievements to audiences at home and abroad. In January 1973 he began preparations in planning sessions with media directors for capturing public enthusiasm for the agrarian reform programme and the 1974-8 plan.
A sensitive man and also a man of literary talent. A man of cultured tastes who speaks English as well as Arabic and French, he is apt to be inaccessible.
Physical Characteristics: Tall, ascetic-looking and not very robust, he is nonetheless a vigorous political figure.
Son of a leading Moslem