Leila Fadel

Leila Fadel is NPR's international correspondent based in Cairo.

Before joining NPR, she covered the Middle East for The Washington Post. In her role as Cairo Bureau Chief she reported on a wave of revolts and their aftermaths in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria.

Prior to her position as Cairo Bureau Chief for the Post, she covered the Iraq war for nearly five years with Knight Ridder, McClatchy Newspapers and later the Washington Post. Her foreign coverage of the devastating human toll of the Iraq war earned her the George. R. Polk award in 2007.

Leila Fadel is a Lebanese-American journalist who speaks conversational Arabic and was raised in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

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Middle East
11:24 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Egyptians Hit Streets, Defying Protest Ban

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:04 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A new political storm is brewing in Egypt. It's over a law that bans unauthorized protest. Egyptian officials are taking to the airwaves to defend the law, in the face of fierce opposition from secular political activists. NPR's Leila Fadel reports from Cairo.

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Middle East
12:24 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Back To The Future: Calls Grow For A Military Ruler In Egypt

An Egyptian woman kisses a poster of Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi as she arrives at Cairo's Tahrir Square to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war last month. Many are calling for the general to run for president next year, but so far he has remained coy.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 1:27 pm

For nearly three years Egyptians have battled for a different, and better, future. But the transition has been tumultuous, filled with pitfalls, death and disappointment.

Today, many are ready to settle for a return to the pre-revolution status quo: a strong, military man who can guide Egypt back to stability.

At the Kakao lounge in central Cairo, teenage girls sample chocolates that bear the face of Egyptian military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. The chocolates depict Sissi in sunglasses, Sissi saluting and Sissi's face in ornate chocolate frames.

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Parallels
10:07 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Tripoli Zoo Sees Different Kind Of Cage — One With Migrants

Illegal immigrants captured in the Libyan coastal city of Surman are held at a temporary prison in an eastern district of Tripoli, Libya, on Oct. 19.
Hamza Turkia Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 8:34 am

Gun-toting militiamen man the steel gate that leads into the Tripoli zoo. A sign promises a garden of animals. Inside, there are paths that meander through a maze of cages and animal habitats. Monkeys climb trees; hippos submerge themselves in water and lions lounge in the heat.

Just a few hundred yards away, there's a different kind of cage: Inside there are people — migrants waiting to be deported or to prove they are in Libya legally.

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Parallels
7:10 am
Thu November 7, 2013

In Libya, The Militias Rule While Government Founders

Militias from towns throughout the country's west parade through Tripoli, Libya, in 2012. Analysts say the country is awash with heavy weapons in the hands of militias divided by tribe, ideology and region. The central government has little power over the gunmen.
Abdel Magid Al Fergany AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 1:51 pm

Zintan, a mountain town in northwestern Libya, is a place of gray and brown buildings, with little infrastructure, about 50,000 people and no central government control.

The Libyan government doesn't provide basic services, not even water. People use wells to provide for themselves. The local council runs all of Zintan's affairs out of a building in the center of town.

At the local militia base on the outskirts of town, we meet the keeper of Saif el-Islam Gadhafi, the son and one-time heir apparent of Moammar Gadhafi.

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Middle East
11:59 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Unrest Erupts In Egypt After Attack On Christian Wedding

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 5:10 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Sunday was supposed to be a day of joy in Egypt at the Church of the Virgin Mary in suburban Cairo. There were four weddings scheduled. But after a drive-by shooting ripped through the celebrations, there were four burials today instead. At least 18 other people were wounded in the attack. It was the latest act of violence in a country experiencing divisions and great crisis. From Cairo, NPR's Leila Fadel sent this report.

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Parallels
7:58 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Egypt's Crackdown On Islamists Spreads To Mosques, Charities

A physician collects medical equipment and medicines from the remains of the partially destroyed Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque compound hospital in Cairo on Aug. 15.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 5:09 pm

Mohammed is a teacher, and for the past 17 years, he has also worked with an Islamic charity in Cairo. But a little more than two weeks ago that charity was shut down.

Security forces raided its office, took everything and began searching for the head of the board of directors because he's connected to the Muslim Brotherhood — the Islamist group of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

Mohammed, who asked that only his first name be used, fled.

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Parallels
10:00 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Bound By Blood, Divided By Politics: Three Egyptian Sisters

Egyptian women queue outside a polling station during voting on a disputed constitution drafted by Islamist supporters of then-President Mohammed Morsi, in Giza, Egypt, last December. In a country divided by a political crisis, families are not spared.
Nasser Nasser AP

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:44 pm

Nagwa, Dina and May are sisters. All three are married, all three have children. All three had always been close — until now.

Egypt's political crisis is changing those relationships. Nagwa and May sympathize with the Muslim Brotherhood. Dina, on the other hand, supports the military, arguing that the generals are just keeping extremists at bay.

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Middle East
10:56 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Journalists In Egypt Face 'Unprecedented Pressures'

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 1:54 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Parallels
7:02 am
Thu August 29, 2013

In Egypt's Political Turmoil, Middle Ground Is The Loneliest

The protesters who opposed Hosni Mubarak two years ago, like these demonstrators in Cario's Tahrir Square on Feb. 8, 2011, have been pushed to the sidelines in the current confrontation.
Emilio Morenatti AP

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 2:01 pm

Egypt is quieter these days. Protests against the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi have subsided for now. And the military-appointed interim government is firmly in charge.

Yet, Egypt remains deeply polarized. And the middle is a lonely place to be.

Some of the young revolutionaries who led the 2011 uprising against the regime of Hosni Mubarak feel they are back to square one, battling authoritarian forces on both sides.

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Middle East
12:06 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Mubarak's Release From Prison Cuts Across Egypt's Divisions

Security forces and medics wheel a stretcher transporting former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from a military helicopter into an ambulance at a Cairo military hospital after his release from prison Thursday.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 4:07 pm

In Egypt, members of the Muslim Brotherhood are trying to get supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi back into the streets.

But the military appears to be consolidating its power.

There were signs of Egypt's shifting fortunes on Thursday when former President Hosni Mubarak was flown from jail to house arrest in a hospital. A few dozen people celebrated outside the prison as Mubarak, 85, was ferried away by helicopter.

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Middle East
2:55 am
Sat August 17, 2013

Despite Bloodshed, Many Egyptians Support Military

A pro-Morsi supporter stands with other demonstrators in Cairo's Abbassiya neighborhood on Friday.
Mohammed Abdel Moneim AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 3:16 am

Egypt witnessed the bloodiest day in its modern history this week. More than 600 people were killed, most during a security crackdown on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

And it isn't over. Dozens more have died since, some in citizen-on-citizen violence. A standoff is going on at a central Cairo mosque, and the nation is spiraling out of control.

Much of Egypt has little sympathy for Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood or their supporters.

'For The Good Of Egypt'

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Parallels
2:09 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Scene From A Cairo Mosque Turned Morgue

A man walks among shrouded bodies at a Cairo mosque on Thursday. At the El-Iman mosque, more than 200 bodies were being prepared for burial, the victims killed in a crackdown on protesters by Egypt's military-backed government.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 3:50 pm

After the bloodshed, comes the grief.

A man weeps as he surveys row upon row of corpses. Some are completely burned. "They are all my brothers," he cries.

Nearby, men methodically break apart blocks of ice in two caskets inside this Cairo mosque. They then place them under the bodies to stop them from decomposing.

But still the sickly sweet smell of death hangs in the air.

Volunteers burn incense and spray air freshener to mask it, but that only adds to the stifling atmosphere.

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Africa
11:26 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Does Egypt's Crisis Signal The End Of Political Islam?

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 12:32 pm

We take a look at what the Muslim Brotherhood's fall from grace means for the future of religion and politics in Egypt. Was it tested, failed and now dead?

Middle East
12:39 am
Thu July 11, 2013

With President Morsi Out, Gulf States Open Their Checkbooks

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 7:13 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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Political Crisis In Egypt
12:34 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

For Now At Least, Egypt's Police Are Seen As The Good Guys

A member of Egypt's police special forces stands guard next to an armored vehicle on July 3, protecting a bridge between Cairo's Tahrir Square and Cairo University where Muslim Brotherhood supporters gathered.
Manu Brabo AP

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 2:15 pm

Egypt has undergone profound change over the past 10 days. The military has overthrown an elected Islamist president and is back in control of the country amid deadly clashes between Islamists and the state security forces.

There's been another change as well: Egypt's police, long reviled by much of the population, have become unlikely heroes for opponents of the now-ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

During Egypt's 2011 uprising, revolutionaries fought pitched street battles with the police force, the protector of the autocratic regime.

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Africa
11:43 am
Thu July 4, 2013

In Post-Coup Egypt, Morsi Allies Feel Effects

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 7:38 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

Egypt has a new interim president.

ADLY MANSOUR: (Foreign language spoken)

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Parallels
10:07 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Libyan Radio Station Promotes Democracy, One Rap At A Time

Libyan presenters work at the studio of Radio Zone in Tripoli, Libya, in 2012. The radio station's owners hope to teach a new generation about democracy.
Mahmud Turkia AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 8:52 am

Many of the militia fighters who rose up and ousted former dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 have refused to lay down their arms and are still challenging the post-revolutionary government.

Yet the militias are facing a challenge of their own. They now come under verbal attack on one of Libya's newest radio stations, Radio Zone.

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Parallels
9:55 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

After The War, A Bitter Feud Remains In Two Libyan Towns

A destroyed home in Tawargha, south of Misrata, on June 5, 2012. Residents have not returned home for fear of death.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:04 pm

Little boys play soccer in the afternoon heat at a makeshift camp near Libya's capital Tripoli. Their homes, or what's left of them, are in Tawargha, a small town about 20 miles from the Mediterranean coast.

The town has been empty since August of 2011. Its residents fled in cars and on foot, under fire from rebel militiamen from the nearby town of Misrata.

The siege of Misrata was one of the bloodiest battles of the Libyan war. Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi shelled Misrata relentlessly, killing hundreds.

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Parallels
10:39 am
Thu May 16, 2013

From The Heart Of Egypt's Revolt, The Pulse Of Artistic Life

Egyptian folk singer Dina El Wedidi performs at Qasr El Nil Theater during the Downtown Cairo Arts Festival. Wedidi says efforts to revitalize venues like the Qasr El Nil are important because there aren't enough places for musicians of the post-revolution explosion to perform.
Mostafa Abdel Aty Courtesy of Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 3:34 pm

Egypt's capital, Cairo, is now synonymous with protests and sometimes violence. Late at night, the once-bustling downtown streets are largely empty these days. People worry about getting mugged or caught up in a mob.

But the recent Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival is an attempt to revitalize the area with music, art and culture in the old and forgotten venues of downtown Cairo, like the Qasr El Nil Theater.

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Middle East
12:03 am
Sat April 27, 2013

Egyptian Activists: Our Religion Is None Of Your Business

Egyptian Christians gather around four coffins during a funeral service at the Saint Mark Coptic cathedral in Cairo on April 7. Religious violence this month has killed three Muslims and at least six Christians.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Sat April 27, 2013 3:17 pm

Since Egypt's revolution began, tensions among Egypt's Muslims and Christians have only increased. Earlier this month, it once again turned deadly. Tit-for-tat killings left three Muslims and at least six Christians dead.

That and other religious violence is prompting a public debate about religious identity in Egypt. One group of young Egyptians wants to remove religious labels from national ID cards.

'Where The Trouble Starts'

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World
10:21 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Egypt's Jon Stewart Says He Won't Back Down Amid Charges

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef waves to his supporters as he enters Egypt's state prosecutor general's office in Cairo on March 31 to face charges of allegedly insulting Islam and the country's leader.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 3:19 pm

It's 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night, and Bassem Youssef's show is on TV screens at cafes throughout downtown Cairo.

It's the Egyptian political satirist's first show since he was summoned to the prosecutor general's office to answer questions about the jokes he makes on TV. After the interrogation, he was released on about $2,200 bail.

On this night, the show opens with a joke about Youssef himself.

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Africa
9:44 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Islamists Say They Are Filling Vacuum Left By Egyptian State

Egyptian men and boys pray at a mosque in Assiut, southern Egypt, that serves as the headquarters for Gamaa al-Islamiya, a group that once waged a bloody insurgency, attacking police and Christians in a campaign to create an Islamic state. Now the Islamist group says it's determined to ensure law and order in the area.
Nariman El-Mofty AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 12:59 pm

In the lush Nile Valley city of Assiut, the police went on strike earlier this month, along with thousands of other cops across the country. They demanded the ouster of the minister of interior, and more guns and equipment to deal with anti-government protests.

A group of hard-line Islamists then stunned the city, which is south of Cairo, by promising to handle security during the strike. The next day, the policemen were back at work.

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Africa
10:02 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

In Post-Revolution Egypt, Fears Of Police Abuse Deepening

An Egyptian military police officer argues with protesters during a demonstration on June 14, 2012, outside the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo.
Marwan Naamani AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 5:29 am

Egypt's police force was the underpinning of former President Hosni Mubarak's iron-fisted regime, and it quickly became the enemy of Egypt's 2011 revolution.

Yet there has been little to no reform of the police force to date. Human rights groups say the police have begun to act like armed gangs, laying down collective punishment in restive areas across the country. But the police say they are the victims, under constant attack by anti-government protesters.

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Middle East
12:07 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

For The First Time In Decades, Iran's President Visits Egypt

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits an Islamic shrine Tuesday in Cairo. He became the first Iranian leader to visit Egypt since the 1970s.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 1:36 pm

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday became the first Iranian leader to visit Egypt since the 1970s, the latest sign of the thawing of relations between the rival Muslim nations.

Ahmadinejad received a red-carpet welcome as Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi greeted him on the tarmac at Cairo International Airport with a kiss on each cheek.

Under Egypt's former leader, Hosni Mubarak, a visit like this would never have happened.

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Africa
10:32 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Tunisia's Salafis: 'A Danger' Or Preachers Of God's Law?

A demonstrator shouts anti-government slogans as he stands in front of the Justice Ministry in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, on Nov. 6, 2012, as part of a demonstration by radical Salafi Muslims protesting against the imprisonment of hundreds of Salafist militants.
Amine Landoulsi AP

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 3:36 am

The uprisings of the Arab Spring unleashed a new political force in the region — Salafis, ultraconservative Muslims who aspire to a society ruled entirely by a rigid form of Islamic law. Their models are the salaf, or ancestors, referring to the earliest Muslims who lived during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad.

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Africa
10:30 pm
Sun January 27, 2013

Egypt's Salafis Emerge As Powerful And Controversial Political Force

A protester holds a Quran at a Salafi rally for the enforcement of Islamic Shariah law last fall in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Repressed during the rule of President Hosni Mubarak, the country's ultra-conservative Salafis have seen a resurgence since the Arab Spring uprising.
Mohamed Abd El Ghany Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 5:11 am

The uprisings of the Arab Spring unleashed a new political force in the region — Salafis. These ultra-conservative Muslims aspire to a society ruled entirely by a rigid form of Islamic law. Their models are the salaf, or ancestors, referring to the earliest Muslims who lived during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad.

To their critics, the Salafis are religious fanatics who are trying to drag the region back to 7th-century Arabia. But the Salafis maintain that they are offering the purest alternative to the dictatorships that have long dominated the region.

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The Two-Way
11:17 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Constitution Vote Seen As Referendum On Egyptian Brotherhood

Egyptians wait in line to vote on a new draft constitution in Giza, south of Cairo, on Saturday.
Gianluigi Guercia AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 23, 2012 3:22 am

Update Dec. 23, at 5:30 a.m.:

Egypt's constitution appears to have passed with 64 percent of Egyptians voting "yes," according to preliminary results issued by state-run media. But the document passed under a cloud of controversy as the opposition to the Islamist-backed document cried fraud.

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Africa
12:19 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Is Morsi Morphing Into Authoritarian He Opposed?

Egyptian protesters hold a banner depicting Morsi as a pharaoh, during a rally expressing opposition to Morsi's decrees, in Cairo, on Nov. 23.
Andre Pain EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 1:08 pm

When Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was elected, some Egyptians jokingly referred to him as the Muslim Brotherhood's "spare tire." He was the backup candidate of the Islamist organization, whose first choice for the presidency was barred from running.

But Morsi has proved much more formidable than many Egyptians believed.

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NPR Story
12:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Egypt's Constitution Vote Mired In Controversy

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 2:05 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And in Egypt, a panel of Islamist lawmakers has approved a new draft constitution, but what should have been a welcome step in the country's transition to democracy is instead mired in controversy. NPR's Leila Fadel has our story from Cairo.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

PRESIDENT MOHAMMED MORSI: (Foreign language spoken)

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Africa
1:18 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Egyptian Judges Prepare For A Strike

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 3:21 pm

After a series of controversial decrees by Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi, the country's judges are conflicted over what to do.

The president and Egypt's highest judicial authority met Monday to try to resolve the crisis, but the decrees, which essentially nullify judicial oversight, remained in place. And the judges are going ahead with plans for a strike.

Yussef Auf has been a judge for 10 years and says he has never witnessed such an affront to his profession.

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