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Don`t call me first lady: Egypt President`s wife

Last Updated: Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 22:55

Cairo: Egypt`s new first lady Naglaa Ali Mahmoud and her predecessor Suzanne Mubarak have at least one thing in common: Both have seen their husbands and sons detained in Egyptian prisons.

The similarities may end there though.
The deposed President Hosni Mubarak`s wife was often criticized for being vain, self-important and strong-willed -- propelling her son, Gamal, toward inheriting the presidency.

But the wife of Islamist President-elect Mohammed Morsi is a conservative, religious Muslim who wears the Islamic veil and appears to be extremely modest. She does not even want to be called the first lady and rejects any accolades.
"I want to be called the President`s wife," she told a news agency by telephone. "Who said that the President`s wife is the first lady anyways?"
Instead, she said she prefers to be called Umm Ahmed, which means mother of Ahmed, her eldest son. It`s a moniker that some secular Egyptian elites might disdain as patriarchal.

If she must have a title, she says, she would not mind being called "the first servant" of the people.

Her style so far could not be a more marked change in tone from the Mubaraks, who presided over massive corruption that enriched an elite cadre of businessmen and ruling party leaders while half the country of 85 million people struggled in abject poverty.


First Published: Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 22:55

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