Muhammad Morsi had started his presidential race in 2012 as much a stranger to his countrymen as to the rest of the world. But his successful brokering of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, in 2012, had given him widening international and domestic support, a feat unmatched by any other Arab leader in the modern era. His remarkable triumph for the Muslim Brotherhood, which had been banned shortly after the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952, and which has, since Morsi’s time, been banned again was rather short lived. The Brotherhood was founded in 1928 to campaign for an Islamic government and society, and Morsi is reported to have joined in 1979.
Morsi’s term in office lasted barely a year before the army – ever the key force in Egyptian politics – intervened to remove him as popular opposition to his alleged authoritarianism and radical Islamic agenda threatened renewed turmoil. The army ousted Morsi on 3 July 2013. The move came after four days of massive anti-government protests in Cairo and cities across Egypt. Told he was no longer president, he was placed under house arrest and many of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders were rounded up, many were shot dead in clashes with the army.
There were concerns widely shared about the treatment of Morsi in prison and the lack of medical care he was being afforded for his diabetes. He died as he lived appropriately enough in a moment of high drama. He was in court facing charges of espionage and was speaking before the judge for 20 minutes when he felt faint and moments later collapsed.
Elected to parliament several times under Hosni Mubarak’s rule, Muhammad Morsi served as an independent in the Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc from 2000 to 2005. He became a spokesman for the Brotherhood and in 2011 after the uprising forced Hosni Mubarak to step down he became chairman of the Freedom and Justice party.
The son of a rice and cotton farmer, Muhammad Morsi grew up in the fertile Nile delta in the province of Sharqiya. He was encouraged by his family to pursue his studies. He studied engineering at Cairo University in the 1970s before moving to the US, in 1982, to complete a PhD in Materials Science at the University of Southern California. He also worked for NASA. He later returned to Egypt and became head of the engineering department at Zagazig University and rose in the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan