News / Middle East

    Future First Lady Discusses Egypt's Future

    Elizabeth Arrott
    Naglaa Ali Mahmoud, wife of Egypt's president-elect Mohamed Morsi, shuns the title of first lady, preferring instead the idea of a servant to the nation.

    A sharper contrast to her predecessor, Suzanne Mubarak is hard to imagine.  Both married future presidents while still in their teens, but the glittered, Westernized style of Mubarak proved alienating to many Egyptians. The abaya-wearing Mahmoud's life as a homemaker reflects, if nothing else, an Egypt more familiar to most.

    In a rare interview granted to a Western news agency, Mahmoud spoke with VOA early in the campaign at the Morsi home in Edwa, in the eastern Nile Delta. With her husband upstairs and her grandchildren and their friends from the village playing in the room next door, she discussed her early marriage, the Muslim Brotherhood, and what lies ahead.

    On Dr. Morsi, as she refers to him, joining the Muslim Brotherhood, and her life as a teenage wife with her then-graduate student husband in California

    "The doctor joined the Brotherhood 31 years ago, when we were in Los Angeles. The Brothers were completely frank and explained that such a life could entail detention and one of the most important things is that the wife agreed to such a path so the household does not get shaken. To us [the Brotherhood] the family is a very important thing. So, if the wife cannot bear these expectations, you're exempt. Dr. Morsi came and told me the Brotherhood said this, that there could be detention and loss of employment. All of that while we were still in America. And I told him, 'No problem. No problem. Let's head down that road, God willing.'"

    On leading the country, and the central role of the Muslim Brotherhood in their lives. Morsi, after his election, publicly resigned from the movement, which is led by a Shura council.

    "This is the reason why we have many worries about [being in] any sensitive or responsible rank. We get concerned, not happy. We become worried and afraid, but of course ultimately we have an institution to which we comply to its words. We comply to its Shura council and this is our duty towards Egypt during this current time."

    Her message to Egypt's Coptic Christians

    "I would like to say that we are one homeland, one fabric. Islam does not differentiate between a Muslim and a Christian. On the contrary, we have learned in Islam that a Muslim and a Christian have the same full rights in the same homeland. They have what we have, and have our same obligations. I personally know in the society Christian women and men and, thanks be to God, my relations with them are good."

    On the role of first lady and the president

    "We in the Muslim Brotherhood consider it the first servant, because the republic’s president is supposed to be the first servant to Egypt. He is the one who sponsors, and this is Islam. In Islam whoever was in charge or handled the country’s affairs [for example], our master Omar Ibn El Khattab used to say, 'if a camel stumbles in the Levant I will be held responsible' This is Islam.

    On her husband

    "He is a very balanced person, very serious. Not because he is my husband, no. It is true. It's his real nature, he is a very balanced and rational person with a political mentality. I mean I've been married to him for almost 31-32 years. I can’t say he's comedian, but he has a sense of humor and is entertaining. He is serious at serious time, entertaining during down time."

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mustafa Nassef from: Egypt
    July 02, 2012 6:54 AM
    may be i am not a supporter for President Morsi but I liked the way his wife talked and I wish luck for him and I wish that he will show the real beautiful side of Islamic way of ruling people.

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    June 29, 2012 9:01 AM
    The taste of the pudding is in the eating. Good saying, Mrs Morsi, but time will tell if you are right or wrong in what you've said. The warning's been there that Tehran started the same way, promising good deal to the people only to short change them later. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. If she says what we hear her say today and the people experience the freedom here preached after 100days in office, then we shall make our comments. For now we can only say, LET'S WAIT AND SEE!
    In Response

    by: ahmed ayoub from: egypt
    July 03, 2012 7:10 PM
    Egypt's Future .yes let's wait and see..i hope we will not wait and wait.
    In Response

    by: Susan from: London
    July 01, 2012 12:34 PM
    Islam will make a mockery of Arab democracy... wait and see...

    by: Dr. Malek Tauqee/Towghi from: USA
    June 29, 2012 2:46 AM
    I wish the Quran-Sunnah-based Islam was as generous towards non-Muslims and non-conformist Muslims as the respected good-hearted First Lady of Egypt and her husband undoubtedly are. In order to make Islam compatible to the realities of our modern & maturing world -- and for the maslahah/khayr/Good of Muslims/Islam -- , I hope the Muslim Brotherhood will have the vision and the courage to undertake the re-interpretation of the Quran and the Sunnah, and the reconstruction of the Shari'ah. Until such a thing happens and accepted by a reasonable majority of Muslim opinion leaders, the best course is to separate religion from the management of COMMON educational, civic, state and international affairs.
    In Response

    by: Gab
    July 02, 2012 9:25 AM
    How do you separate religion from political Islam? An Oath to others mean nothing if only Muslim Sharia is the rule. We cannot even allow them to take the Oath in the US ""I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States. When required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion....." I find it hard to believe that an Islamist would be honest if he or she took this Oath to become a citizen of the United States or Europe.
    Article 24 of the declaration states: "All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Sharia."
    Article 19 also says: "There shall be NO crime or punishment EXCEPT as provided for in the Sharia."
    The CAIRO DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS has been criticized for failing to guarantee FREEDOM OF RELIGION as a "fundamental and non-negotiable human right".

    ARTICLE 25: "The Islamic Shari'ah is the ONLY source of reference for the explanation or clarification of ANY of the articles of this Declaration."








    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.