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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7:09pm

Thu August 15, 2013
Parallels

Scene From A Cairo Mosque Turned Morgue

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 8:50 pm

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

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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5:21am

Fri July 26, 2013
Middle East

Dispute Between Military, Morsi Supporters Flares In Egypt

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 7:33 am

Mass demonstrations are expected in Egyptian cities Friday amid fears of an imminent crackdown by security forces on supporters of former President Mohammed Morsi. The military chief who ousted Morsi urged Egyptians to come out in force to give the army a mandate to deal with "violence and terror." Muslim Brotherhood leaders have called for rival protests, after accusing the military chief of calling for civil war.

5:49am

Thu July 11, 2013
Middle East

With President Morsi Out, Gulf States Open Their Checkbooks

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 12:13 pm

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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6:00pm

Tue July 9, 2013
Political Crisis In Egypt

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

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 7:15 pm

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

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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4:43pm

Thu July 4, 2013
Africa

In Post-Coup Egypt, Morsi Allies Feel Effects

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 12:38 pm

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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3:07am

Tue June 18, 2013
Parallels

Libyan Radio Station Promotes Democracy, One Rap At A Time

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 1:52 pm

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

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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2:55am

Wed May 29, 2013
Parallels

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

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 9:04 pm

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

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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3:39pm

Thu May 16, 2013
Parallels

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

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 8:34 pm

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

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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5:03am

Sat April 27, 2013
Middle East

Egyptian Activists: Our Religion Is None Of Your Business

Originally published on Sat April 27, 2013 8:17 pm

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

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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3:21am

Wed April 24, 2013
World

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

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 8:19 pm

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

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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5:19am

Thu April 4, 2013
Middle East

As Egypt Negotiates IMF Loan, Food And Fuel Prices Soar

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 2:30 pm

An Egyptian woman carries a cooking gas canister in Cairo on Tuesday. The government just raised the price of gas as part of an energy package needed to satisfy the conditions of a $4.8 billion IMF loan. Opponents say some of the conditions disproportionately hurt the poor.
Khalil Hamra AP

Two years after the revolution, Egypt is in a deep economic crisis. It's running out of money to purchase crucial imports like wheat and fuel, both of which are subsidized by the government, and an infusion of cash is desperately needed.

While a delegation from the International Monetary Fund is in Cairo continuing negotiations on a $4.8 billion loan, Egyptians are strained by the rising costs of food — and the gas needed to cook it.

For Mosaad el Dabe, it's a disaster.

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2:44pm

Mon March 25, 2013
Africa

Islamists Say They Are Filling Vacuum Left By Egyptian State

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 5:59 pm

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

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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4:36pm

Fri March 8, 2013
Africa

Police Officers Caught In The Middle Go On Strike In Egypt

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 6:03 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Now to Egypt, where police officers are on strike.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTESTERS)

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3:02am

Thu March 7, 2013
Africa

In Post-Revolution Egypt, Fears Of Police Abuse Deepening

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:29 am

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

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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5:33pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Middle East

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

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 6:36 pm

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

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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3:32am

Tue January 29, 2013
Africa

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

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 8:36 am

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

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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3:30am

Mon January 28, 2013
Africa

Egypt's Salafis Emerge As Powerful And Controversial Political Force

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 10:11 am

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

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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4:17pm

Sat December 22, 2012
The Two-Way

Constitution Vote Seen As Referendum On Egyptian Brotherhood

Originally published on Sun December 23, 2012 8:22 am

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

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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5:19pm

Mon December 3, 2012
Africa

Is Morsi Morphing Into Authoritarian He Opposed?

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 6:08 pm

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

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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5:04am

Fri November 30, 2012
NPR Story

Egypt's Constitution Vote Mired In Controversy

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 7:05 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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7:00pm

Mon November 26, 2012
Africa

Egyptian Judges Prepare For A Strike

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 8:21 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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5:48pm

Sat November 24, 2012
Middle East

Burst Of Protest In Egypt But No Revolution, Yet

Pro-democracy demonstrators occupy Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday night. The writing on the tent reads, "Egypt is not a farm, Constitution party, Egypt for Egyptians."
AP

Cairo's Tahrir Square was nearly empty as the sun rose Saturday. A few demonstrators camped out overnight after mass protests on Friday condemned controversial decrees by Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi.

Earlier this week, Morsi gave himself unchecked powers until a constitution is written and passed by a popular referendum — in about two months. He also decreed that neither the body writing the constitution nor the upper house of Parliament could be dissolved by the courts.

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5:32pm

Fri November 23, 2012
Middle East

Protests Erupt In Egypt After President Expands Powers

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 7:34 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. Thousands of protesters flooded into the streets of Egypt today, some in support of the Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, others condemning what they called a power grab by the president that puts Egypt on the path to one-man rule. It is, in short, a nation visibly divided today. NPR's Leila Fadel reports from Cairo.

CROWD: (Chanting) Morsi, Morsi...

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4:45am

Thu November 22, 2012
Middle East

Egypt's Morsi Praised For Cease-Fire As Talks Begin

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 10:02 am

In this image provided by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (right), Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal meets with Morsi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo on Sunday. Morsi has won praise for brokering the cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel.
AP

The cease-fire between Hamas and Israel has been a political boost for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. The Islamist leader spent hours in meetings and on the phone with world leaders, including President Obama, and got results: a cessation of violence that puts Egypt back on the international map. But Morsi faces a test Thursday night, when negotiations on the details begin.

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4:38pm

Mon November 19, 2012
Israeli-Palestinian Coverage

Egypt Tries To Help Hamas Broker A Cease-Fire

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 3:50 pm

Egypt has stepped up negotiations on a cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip on Monday. Hamas' top leader and two senior Israeli envoys were in Cairo and met separately with Egyptian officials, including President Mohammed Morsi. One of Morsi's aides said a truce deal could be imminent.

5:02pm

Sun November 18, 2012
Middle East

Few Signs Of Break In Mideast Flare-Up

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 9:47 am

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

Israel is now warning of a possible significant expansion of its operation aimed at Palestinian militants in Gaza. Earlier today, an Israeli air strike on a suspected Hamas target killed at least 10 people, and Hamas fired dozens of missiles into Israel. We'll get to our cover story on legacy and the Obama White House in a few moments, but first to the Middle East and our reporter in Cairo, Leila Fadel.

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6:27am

Fri November 16, 2012
Middle East

Price Hikes Lead To Deadly Protests In Jordan

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Israel's neighbor Jordan had largely avoided the unrest sparked by the Arab Spring until now. Jordan's king has outlasted protests that have been much smaller than in other nations, but a government move to raise fuel prices sparked fresh protests and even calls for King Abdullah to step down. A protester who died in a clash with police has become a symbol of protesters' fury. NPR's Leila Fadel has the story.

UM QAIS: (Speaking foreign language)

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4:38pm

Thu November 1, 2012
Africa

Vigilantes Spray-Paint Sexual Harassers In Cairo

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 9:15 pm

A young Egyptian man grabs a woman crossing the street with her friends in Cairo. Vigilante groups are now taking to the streets and spray-painting the clothes of the harassers.
Ahmed Abdelatif AP

Over the recent four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, more than 1,000 sexual harassment complaints were filed in Egypt.

President Mohammed Morsi has ordered an investigation, but some are not prepared to wait for the government and the police to act.

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1:33pm

Mon October 22, 2012
Africa

Will The '24-Hour City' Of Cairo Call It A Night?

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 6:54 pm

Nighttime shoppers pause to look at a display at Cairo's Ataba market in May 2011. The government says shops must close earlier in order to save scarce electricity, but many Cairo residents are complaining.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

When the sun goes down, Cairo bursts to life. Men play backgammon and smoke water pipes. Young fashionistas meet friends for midnight coffees. Families go shopping with small kids in tow.

Life in the Egyptian capital is lived at night. Last year, one study rated Cairo the "most 24-hour city" in the world. New York City trailed far behind at No. 32.

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4:52pm

Fri October 12, 2012
Middle East

Cemetery For Hezbollah Martyrs Continues To Grow

Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 8:29 am

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 a cemetery in Beirut, Lebanon, new graves are appearing more frequently than usual. This isn't just any cemetery. It's where the martyrs of Hezbollah are buried. The Shiite militant group is backed by the governments of Iran and Syria. While it's not clear where these latest martyrs were killed, members of Syria's opposition accuse the group of sending fighters into their country to help its embattled government.

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