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
3:56 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Egyptians Fear Power Outages Could Fuel More Unrest

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 11:34 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Sometimes in the evening in Cairo, Egypt, people take a sailboat ride on the Nile. I got to do this once, Renee. It's amazing. The river cuts through the center of the city and you can see the lights of Cairo spreading along each bank. Except, of course, when the lights are out.

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News
3:08 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Egyptian Journalist Trial Is Long On Jail Time — But Short On Proof

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 7:12 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. In Cairo today, three journalists with the al-Jazeera English channel were back in court. They're accused of being terrorists and spreading false information and it's a case causing international condemnation. The journalists have now been in jail for more than 100 days, part of a wide crackdown on Islamists, critics of the government and the press.

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World
4:10 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Egyptian Town Reeling Over Mass Death Sentence

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 5:38 pm

More than 500 people in Matea, Egypt, have been sentenced to death. On one street alone, a juice store owner, a sweets shop owner, a doctor and more than 20 others have been condemned.

Parallels
3:38 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

In Egypt, Defendants Are Being Tried By The Hundreds

Relatives of defendants gather outside the courthouse in the central Egyptian city of Minya on Tuesday. Some 700 Islamists charged with deadly rioting were on trial. The day before, the court sentenced 529 men to death for killing a policeman.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 5:30 pm

Egypt's legal system has already been under scrutiny with a raft of high-profile cases that include two ousted presidents and scores of activists. And a new wave of international criticism is building after an Egyptian court sentenced 529 men to death after a two-day trial.

The judge sentenced the men for the killing of a police officer. They were also charged with arson, inciting violence and other crimes in the province of Minya, just south of Cairo.

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Middle East
4:06 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Egyptian Court Sentences 529 Morsi Supporters To Death

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 6:33 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. In Egypt yesterday, a criminal court sentenced 529 people to death over the killing of a police officer. The verdict has been described as unprecedented and humanitarian critics say the two-day trial that preceded it was a sham. Here's NPR's Leila Fadel from Cairo.

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Parallels
2:28 am
Fri March 14, 2014

In Egypt, A New Courtroom Drama Every Day

Australian journalist Peter Greste (center) of Al Jazeera and his colleagues stand inside the defendants' cage during their trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood at Cairo's Tora prison on Mar. 5.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 10:27 am

Not one but two ousted presidents are on trial. In cages. As are a group of journalists from the Al Jazeera satellite channel. Then there are the countless activists facing charges that are widely seen as politically motivated.

If you like courtroom dramas, Egypt is the place to be these days. And while there's no shortage of high-profile trials, analysts say one thing hasn't changed in the three tumultuous years since the overthrow of the autocratic Hosni Mubarak: There's still no guarantee of a fair trial for the accused.

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Africa
2:36 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Outmanned And Outgunned, Libya Struggles To Fix Its Broken Army

Soldiers march during a graduation ceremony for recruits of the Libyan army in Tripoli, the capital, on Jan. 16. The military, gutted by years under Moammar Gadhafi and by NATO attacks, faces multiple challenges as it tries to rebuild.
Ismail Zitouny Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 10:34 am

In Libya, disputes are settled by guns.

On a recent day, just west of Tripoli, the Libyan capital, gunfire erupts, a battle between two families. It builds for hours; people run for cover. No one intervenes — even though a Libyan army base is just a mile away.

Inside that military camp in a town called Zawiya are 230 young men from across the North African nation, part of the government effort to address the country's most glaring problem: an almost nonexistent security force.

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Parallels
3:26 pm
Sun February 16, 2014

Looking Back On Libya: 'We Were Naive' About The Challenges

A child from the town of Tawargha holds a toy gun at a refugee camp in Benghazi on Jan. 12. His town was cleared by militiamen who accused residents of allying with Moammar Gadhafi.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 12:33 pm

In 2011, I crossed the border with other journalists into a country that had been cut off from the world for 42 years. We had no idea what to expect as we entered what the rebels were calling "Free Libya."

Where before there had been oppressive security, instead what greeted us was a motley group of ecstatic young men with guns who welcomed journalists to the land they'd liberated. There was no passport control, no rules and a sense of relief that the world would finally hear their stories.

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Middle East
8:54 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Libya's Slow And Bloody Path Toward Stability

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 12:13 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. This month marks the third anniversary of Libya's uprising against a brutal dictator, Moammar Gadhafi. After a bloody civil war, he was ousted and later killed - and now Libya is trying to rebuild itself. But the process has been slow. The divided nation still has a weak government and is awash with weapons. NPR's Leila Fadel has just returned from Tripoli and joins us from Cairo. Leila, thanks so much for being with us.

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

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Africa
1:48 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Egypt's Crackdown Widens, But Insurgency Still Burns

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood (background) clash with supporters of Egypt's army chief Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi in Cairo on Jan. 24.
Khaled Kamel AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 2:55 pm

Here are three numbers that tell the story of Egypt's security crackdown, its political turmoil and the simmering insurgency.

16,687. It's estimated that at least this many political detainees have been imprisoned since the military ousted the Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, on July 3.

4,482. At least this many people have been killed in clashes since Morsi's ouster, many at the hands of security forces.

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Middle East
4:54 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

The Coup Goes To Court: Ousted Pres. Morsi On Trial In Cairo

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

In Cairo today, former President Mohammed Morsi appeared in court for the second time since he was ousted in a military coup last July. The Islamist leader wore a white prison uniform and stood in a glass-enclosed cage. As NPR's Leila Fadel reports, Morsi faces charges that could lead to the death penalty.

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Mental Health
3:54 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

No Surprises: Egyptian Military Endorses Its Chief For President

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 6:56 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now, to Egypt where there were more indications today that the country's top military chief is preparing to run for president. The armed forces announced on state television that Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi should, in their words, heed the call of the people and run for president in an election expected to be held within the next three months.

NPR's Leila Fadel joins us now from Cairo. Hi, Leila.

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Hi.

SIEGEL: And does this mean that Egypt's military chief is definitely running for president?

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Middle East
3:55 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Deaths, Arrests Mark 3rd Anniversary Of Egypt's Uprising

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 6:25 am

The third anniversary of Egypt's revolution was marked with violent clashes across the country between pro and anti-government demonstrators. By Sunday morning at least 49 people had been killed and more than 1,000 arrested.

Middle East
10:21 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Three Years Later, Tahrir Protesters Drained And Defeated

Egyptian security forces close Tahrir Square to disperse protesters in December.
Ahmed Abd El Latif AP

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 7:17 pm

Three years after the start of the 2011 revolution, many of the young secular activists who led the protests are behind bars.

Others have gone silent, afraid to speak out as the military and the ousted Muslim Brotherhood are locked in a battle for Egypt itself.

For most of those revolutionaries, this is a dark and bitter time.

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Parallels
1:28 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

The High Price Egyptians Pay For Opposing Their Rulers

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood run from tear gas during clashes with riot police near Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya square on Nov. 22.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:11 pm

Mohamed Yousef is a tall, handsome practitioner of kung fu. In fact, he's an Egyptian champion who recently won an international competition.

But a month ago, when he collected his gold medal at the championship in Russia, he posed for a picture after putting on a yellow T-shirt with a hand holding up four fingers.

That's the symbol of Rabaa al-Adawiya, the Cairo square where Egyptian security forces opened fire in August on supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Hundreds were killed, including seven of Yousef's friends.

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Middle East
3:24 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Egyptians Hit Streets, Defying Protest Ban

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 9:04 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
4:24 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 5:27 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
2:07 am
Tue November 12, 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 12:34 pm

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
11:10 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 5:51 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
3:59 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Unrest Erupts In Egypt After Attack On Christian Wedding

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 9:10 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
11:58 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 9:09 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
2:00 am
Wed October 9, 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 7:44 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
2:56 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Journalists In Egypt Face 'Unprecedented Pressures'

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 5:54 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Parallels
11:02 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 6:01 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
4:06 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 8:07 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
6:55 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 7:16 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
6:09 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 7:50 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
3:26 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

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

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 4:32 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
4:39 am
Thu July 11, 2013

With President Morsi Out, Gulf States Open Their Checkbooks

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 11:13 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
4:34 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 6:15 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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