Egypt's First Lady, Naglaa Ali Mahmoud

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In the U.S., she'd be dubbed the First Lady, but she prefers the term First Servant. Today we take a look at the social impact of Naglaa ali Mahmoud: why some Egyptian women hail her as a symbol of their progress, and others think exactly the opposite.


Part Two of The Current

Egypt's First Lady, Naglaa Ali Mahmoud - Panel

We started this segment with a clip of Naglaa Ali Mahmoud, the wife of Egypt's new President, Mohammed Morsi. It's from one of the only interviews she has given since she became Egypt's First Lady. Though, "First Lady" is a title she has all but refused ... saying she would rather be thought of as Egypt's First Servant. She calls herself Um Ahmed, a traditional nickname that identifies her as the mother of Ahmed, her eldest son.

Naglaa Ali Mahmoud is a conservative, observant woman who wears a simple, fuller, seen as more modest style of hijab. She is very different from Egypt's former First Lady, Suzanne Mubarak. In a country facing great uncertainty Naglaa Ali Mahmoud has become the subject of a heated debate. Some think she makes Egypt look like a backwards place and worry about the future of women's rights under her husband's watch. But others see her as the very symbol of Egypt's democratic revolution ... a Presidential partner who actually looks like so many of the millions of people she represents.

For their thoughts on what Naglaa Ali Mahmoud represents, we were joined by three women. Omaima Abou Bakr is the Co-founder of the Women and Memory Forum. She's also a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cairo University. Hanan Hafez is a single working mother who lives in Cairo. And Dalia Mogahed is the Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and a former member of U.S. President Barack Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. She was in Washington.

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar and Tendisai Cromwell.


Other segment from today's show:

Is it the end for President Bashar al-Assad?

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