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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Parallels
2:07 am
Tue June 18, 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 12:52 pm

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
1:55 am
Wed May 29, 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 8:04 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
2:39 pm
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 7:34 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
4:03 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 7:17 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
2:21 am
Wed April 24, 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 7:19 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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Middle East
4:11 am
Thu April 4, 2013

As Egypt Negotiates IMF Loan, Food And Fuel Prices Soar

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

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 1:30 pm

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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Africa
1:44 pm
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 4:59 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
2:02 am
Thu March 7, 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 9:29 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
4:26 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 5:36 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
2:32 am
Tue January 29, 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 7:36 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
2:30 am
Mon January 28, 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 9:11 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
3:17 pm
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 7:22 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
4:19 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 5:08 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
4:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Egypt's Constitution Vote Mired In Controversy

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 6:05 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
5:18 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Egyptian Judges Prepare For A Strike

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 7:21 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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Middle East
4:48 pm
Sat November 24, 2012

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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Middle East
4:32 pm
Fri November 23, 2012

Protests Erupt In Egypt After President Expands Powers

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 6:34 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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Middle East
4:08 am
Thu November 22, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 9:02 am

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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Middle East
5:27 am
Fri November 16, 2012

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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Africa
3:38 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Vigilantes Spray-Paint Sexual Harassers In Cairo

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

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 8:15 pm

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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Africa
12:33 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 5:54 pm

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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Africa
7:13 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Libyan Government To Disband Rogue Groups

Soldiers from the Libyan National Army get ready to enter the compound of Rafallah al-Sahati in Benghazi on Saturday. Libya's president announced that all government-aligned militias will now report to the army chief of staff, and that all other armed groups must disband.
Mohammad Hannon AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 8:08 am

Violent protests in eastern Libya have set in motion a movement to take back the nation from dozens of militias born from the revolt against strongman Moammar Gadhafi. Since the dictator's demise, Libya has been beholden to men with guns.

The transitional state is weak, and it depends on the militias to help secure the streets. The state has now promised to integrate the militias into the security forces.

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Africa
4:21 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Libyan Militiaman Says He Warned U.S. Of Dangers

U.S. officials and Libyan militiamen met to discuss the deteriorating security in Benghazi just two days before the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Stevens is shown here at the consulate in June.
John Poole NPR

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 5:15 pm

Two days before the deadly Sept. 11 attack on Americans in Libya, three U.S. officials met pro-government militias working to provide security in the city of Benghazi.

In that meeting, which included the American economic and political counselors, Mohammed el Gharabi, a leader of a prominent militia, says he warned the Americans that the security situation in Benghazi was deteriorating.

Assassinations are becoming rampant; no one is safe, including militiamen like himself, he says he told the Americans.

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Africa
4:14 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Libyan Group Denies Role In U.S. Consulate Attack

A Libyan follower of Ansar al-Sharia Brigades carries a placard reads in Arabic "our Islamic holies are red line," during a protest in front of the Tibesti Hotel, in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 14, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad.
Mohammad Hannon AP

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 7:36 pm

Ansar al-Sharia, the ultraconservative armed Islamist group accused of taking part in the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, denies it was involved. But the group's leadership stopped short of condemning the deadly attack. A top U.S. counterterrorism official says they are looking at the group in connection with the assault.

Ansar al-Sharia is one of the most powerful Islamist militias in eastern Libya. The brigade claims hundreds of men who fought, with U.S. and NATO support, to unseat strongman Moammar Gadhafi last year.

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Africa
6:35 am
Sun September 16, 2012

Consulate Attack Preplanned, Libya's President Says

A Libyan military guard stands in front of one of the U.S. Consulate's burnt-out buildings in Benghazi Sept. 14 during the visit of President Mohammed el-Megarif.
Mohammad Hannon AP

Originally published on Sun September 16, 2012 7:36 am

Libya's president says he believes al-Qaida is behind a deadly attack in eastern Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other U.S. staffers.

In an exclusive interview with NPR in Benghazi, President Mohammed el-Megarif says foreigners infiltrated Libya over the past few months, planned the attack and used Libyans to carry it out.

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Middle East
3:57 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Egyptian Leader Stirs Tensions On First Visit To Iran

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 5:09 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi caused a diplomatic stir today in Tehran, opening a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. Morsi denounced the Syrian regime, calling it oppressive and illegitimate. That prompted an angry walk-out by the Syrian delegation. And Morsi's comments cannot have pleased the summit's hosts either. NPR's Leila Fadel reports.

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Middle East
4:53 am
Tue August 28, 2012

Egypt's President To Recalibrate Foreign Policy

Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 8:32 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Well, the new president of Egypt is traveling overseas, and Mohammed Morsi appears to be setting a new course for his country in international affairs - or at least, trying to. He's reaching out to adversaries and allies, and trying to bring back his country's diplomatic importance. NPR's Leila Fadel has the story.

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Africa
5:31 am
Sat August 18, 2012

Egypt's New Leader Struggles To Fulfill Big Promises

Egypt's new president, Mohammed Morsi, has promised to improve the lives of ordinary Egyptians during his first 100 days in office. But Morsi, shown here in July, is dealing with multiple challenges, including an economy that has been struggling since last year's revolution.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 18, 2012 8:58 am

Egypt's new Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, has made sweeping promises to the Egyptian people, saying he'll improve the quality of their lives during his first 100 days in office.

Morsi has been busy on several fronts, but he has only a few weeks left to fulfill those big pledges.

His promises have come in nightly radio broadcasts during the holy month of Ramadan. A decent loaf of bread is a demand for us all, he declared in one of those broadcasts, saying subsidized bread will be more widely available and of better quality.

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