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Mohamed Morsi


Mohamed Morsi
(Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Who is he?:

Egypt's first democratically elected president who came to power more than a year after his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, was ousted in Egypt's Arab Spring revolution. A leading figure in the country's Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned under Mubarak.


August 1951 in Sharqia, Egypt, a governorate in the northeast part of the country on the Nile delta.

Personal life:

Married his cousin Najla Ali Mahmoud in 1979. She is also a religious Sunni Muslim like Morsi, and together they have four boys and a girl -- two were born in the United States and hold U.S. citizenship. She dresses conservatively, has blended in with the crowd at her husband's campaign rallies, and prefers the name Umm Ahmed -- mother of Ahmed, her eldest son. Morsi studied engineering at Cairo University and then came to the United States to pursue his doctorate at the University of Southern California, receiving his degree in 1982.

Political affiliation:

Chairman of Freedom and Justice Party founded by his Muslim Brotherhood from the fall of Mubarak in 2011 to his election as president in June 2012, when he was the party's official candidate. When Mubarak was in power and Morsi served as a member of parliament, he ran as an independent because the Muslim Brotherhood was officially banned.


He taught at California State University, Northridge, in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles before returning to Egypt in 1985 to teach at Zagazig University. Morsi served as a member of parliament representing Zagazig from 2000 to 2005. Even though he was technically an independent, though, didn't mean he wasn't in trouble with the regime at the time: in 2006, Morsi spent seven months behind bars, one of many times he was arrested. He was a member of the Guidance Bureau, the highest authority within the Muslim Brotherhood, and is considered to be a fierce loyalist to the Brotherhood.


Morsi's presidency is seen as a critical test for Egypt's future. Did the revolutionaries who filled Tahrir Square calling for democracy and a country free of tyranny trade autocratic Mubarak for a theocratic regime that would implement Sharia and squeeze out Egypt's Coptic Christians and secularists? Morsi has tried to allay some of these fears by promising to have a representative government and saying in his victory speech that he would honor all of Egypt's international treaties -- which includes a peace treaty with Israel. In addition to numerous domestic and foreign policy issues, Morsi also faces additional dealings with the interim military leadership (SCAF) that led post-Mubarak Egypt and was responsible for ensuring a democratic transition.


"O people of Egypt, you have bestowed upon me a heavy trust and great responsibility. I say to all of you, by the grace of Allah and your will, that I have been entrusted with this and I am not best of you. I will sacrifice all my efforts to be loyal to the duties and pledges which I made before all of you, and that all would be equal in rights and duties. As for myself I have no rights but I have duties; so I call upon you my people to support me as long as I establish justice and righteousness among you, and as long as I obey God in your affairs. If I don't do so, and I disobey God and I do not adhere to what I promised, you are not obliged to obey me. At this historic juncture, I call upon you the great people of Egypt to strengthen our national unity and close our ranks and stand together. We are all Egyptians. Even though we differ in our views we are all citizens of this country, even if our parties are different. There is no room for the language of confrontation and there is no room to accuse each other." -- Morsi's first speech as president
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