By Hussein Qabani
In 1978, Najla Ali got married to Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi, who later became Egypt’s first freely elected president.
After marriage, Najla travelled with her husband to the U.S., where Morsi went to complete a PhD in material science at the University of Southern California.
In the U.S., Najla has dedicated her life to raising her two children, who were born in the U.S., and help her husband, who became an assistant professor of engineering at California State University at Northridge.
In 1985, the family returned to Egypt, where Morsi worked as a professor of engineering until 2000.
In 2000, her husband was elected a member of parliament until 2005. During this time, Najla has dedicated her time to serve her family.
Her husband was arrested and jailed twice under former autocrat Hosni Mubarak for his membership in the Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned by the Egyptian authorities.
The second time Morsi was detained was during an 18-day popular uprising that swept Mubarak from power after three decades of ruling the Arab world’s most populous nation.
Though her husband became Egypt’s first freely elected president in 2012, Najla preferred to keep away from the public eye, even refusing to be called Egypt’s first lady.
A year later, her family was hit hard when Morsi was deposed and jailed by the military in a coup after serving only one year in power. Her two sons were also detained on different charges.
All these difficulties, however, have failed shake this steadfast Egyptian woman, who was able to see her husband only twice in the past five years since his imprisonment.
Despite all accusations and media campaigns against her family, Najla denies all charges against her husband and encourages him to “remain steadfast”.
“May Allah keep you strong and end your detention,” she says in an emotional message to her husband on Facebook.
Following Morsi’s overthrow, Egyptian authorities launched a relentless crackdown on his supporters, killing hundreds and detaining thousands.