03 September 2015

Egypt, 1958

A two-minute excerpt from a speech by Gamal Abdel Nasser in which he comments on (mocks) the Muslim Brotherhood regarding head coverings for women.  Note the genuine laughter from the audience.

How times have changed.

Some background:
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein (1918 – 1970) was the second President of Egypt, serving from 1956 until his death. A leader of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 against the monarchy, he introduced neutralist foreign policies during the Cold War, co-founding the international Non-Aligned Movement...

Nasser led the 1952 overthrow of the monarchy and introduced far-reaching land reforms the following year. Following a 1954 Muslim Brotherhood-led attempt on his life, he cracked down on the organization, put President Muhammad Naguib under house arrest, and assumed executive office, officially becoming president in June 1956...

Calls for pan-Arab unity under his leadership increased, culminating with the formation of the United Arab Republic with Syria (1958–1961). In 1962, Nasser began a series of major socialist measures and modernization reforms in Egypt...

Following Egypt's concessions to Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, Nasser resigned, but he returned to office after popular demonstrations called for his reinstatement...

After the conclusion of the 1970 Arab League summit, Nasser suffered a heart attack and died.


  1. was curious about unnamed MB leader he met with (with daughter in med school, sans head scarf) but couldn't find anything via quick google.

    1. I found this:

      "...author Ghada Maher, who is a member of the Al-Wafd party, recalls a speech by late president Gamal Abdel Nasser. In this speech, he recounts the details of his dialogue with former Brotherhood leader Hassan al-Hudaibi in 1953 about the imposition of the veil. Abdel Nasser said that Hudaibi told him, "As ruler in charge, you have to impose the veil." Abdel Nasser replied, "I know that your daughter is in medical school..."

      More here -


    2. This piece points to him as well (but of course can't find much about either daughter specifically, other than google book hit about being part of Muslim Sisterhood)

      thanks for looking too!

  2. Thank you for posting this. It made me realize that the conflict between religious fundamentalists and mainstream/progressive leaders (standing with the general population) has been going on for decades. I wasn't familiar with Egypt's recent history, but now I'd like to learn more!

    1. I'm always delighted to hear that I'm stimulating people to learn. Here is an article about Afghanistan in 1967 that might be equally eye-opening -


      And this one about modern women in Iran -



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