Muhammad Morsi

Muhammad Morsi (b. 1951) was the sixth president of Egypt, and its first civilian president, representing the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). He was elected following the Arab Spring, which created unprecedented political opportunities for government opposition parties. Islamist parties performed especially well in elections—and none more so than the FJP—though Morsi himself won by a slim 3% against Ahmed Shafiq, the former prime minister under Mubarak. However, as the months passed Morsi grew unpopular as president and oversaw a government that many saw as inept on the economy, dominated by Islamists, unsympathetic to minority issues, and increasingly authoritarian.

Following mass protests during the summer of 2013, the Egyptian military led a coup that deposed Morsi and resulted in the arrest and detention of scores of Muslim Brotherhood figures. Charges were brought against Morsi related to the deaths of protestors during a sit-in at the Ittihadiya Palace, the sale of state secrets to foreign countries, and sponsoring terrorism. Pro-Morsi protestors have staged numerous demonstrations since the coup, during which hundreds have died in confrontations with state security forces. He went on trial in November 2013 and is awaiting a third trial in 2014. If convicted, he faces the death penalty.

Sources:

BBC, “Profile: Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi,” BBC News, December 18, 2013, accessed January 14, 2014.

Yasmine El Rashidi, “Egypt: The Rule of the Brotherhood,” The New York Review of Books, February 7, 2013, accessed January 14, 2014.

Image Credits:

"Mohamed Morsi, May 2013," Wilson Dias/ABr, from Wikimedia Commons.

See also: Egypt