June 12, 2012
Mursi’s wife uninterested in limelight
Presidential frontrunner’s wife spurns ‘first lady’ title
Despite a fierce competition between their spouses over Egypt’s top post, wives of the two presidential frontrunners have rarely appeared in their campaigns.
Azza Abdul Fatah, wife of Ahmad Shafiq, an ex-army general, died of cancer in April — days after he announced his presidential bid. Shafiq, the last premier in Hosni Mubarak’s rule, is a father of three girls who are keen to shun the media.
Meanwhile, Najla Ali, wife of the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential contender, appears not fond of the limelight. She has rarely been seen in her husband’s rallies.
“I completely reject the title of the ‘first lady’. It was used for Jihan Al Sadat (wife of late Egyptian president Anwar Al Sadat) and Suzan (Mubarak’s wife). Both meddled in politics and economy,” Najla, a housewife, told the official website of the Brotherhood.
“Islam teaches us that the ruler should be the country’s first servant and accordingly his wife should be the people’s first servant, not the first lady,” she added.
Having married Mursi in 1978, Najla accompanied him on a scholarship to the US where he obtained a doctorate’s degree in space engineering. They have five children, two of them are American citizens.
“The fact that my son Ahmad holds an American passport is a strong guarantee that he will not succeed his father in power,” she said sarcastically. Under Egyptian law, presidential hopefuls and their parents should be only Egyptians.
“It was Suzan Mubarak who helped her two sons Jamal and Alaa abuse their father’s power. We reject this abuse because we respect state institutions,” said Najla, 50, who has a high school degree.
The opposition accused Mubarak, now in prison serving a life sentence, of having groomed his younger son, Jamal to succeed him. A popular revolt deposed Mubarak in February last year after 30 years in power.
“If Dr Mursi becomes a president, we will never move to live in a presidential palace unless we have to. I like to live with ordinary people because living inside palaces makes hearts cruel,” added Najla.
“As a president’s wife, I hope to continue living among the ordinary people and sharing their sufferings,” she said. “There are people in Egypt living below the zero level. They are the first category I would take care of though social efforts I have been undertaking for many years now.”
Mursi, an engineering professor seen as a conservative Islamist, has recently called his marriage to Najla as the biggest achievement in his life. “Day after day, I see him as an astute statesman who has all it takes to be a qualified president. He has a gift for leadership, humanitarian qualities and an unfailing attachment to his homeland and people,” his wife commented.
A veteran member of the Brotherhood, Mursi, 61, served as an independent MP from 200 to 2005. He was detained several times under Mubarak, the last being at the beginning of the uprising that eventually unseated the former strongman.
gulfnews : Mursi