Naqib's Daughter

Naqib's Daughter
North Carolina,
November 11
Born and raised in Egypt, educated at London University, immigrated to the United States in the eighties. Author of two novels, The Cairo House, about growing up in a political family in Nasser's Egypt, and The Naqib's Daughter, about Bonaparte's occupation of Egypt in 1798. A collection of short stories, Love is Like Water, addresses in part Arab Americans post 9/11. Also published nonfiction on Islam, Egypt, women in Muslim societies, and terrorism. Have taught at university and in journalism. An editor of South Writ Large, an online magazine of stories, arts and ideas from the Global and US Souths.


Naqib's Daughter's Links

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 7, 2011 2:37AM

Tahrir Square: a Coptic-Muslim Mass

On the surface, there is a semblance of normality on the streets of Cairo today. The rowing crews were out on the water early again. Yesterday the banks re-opened for three hours; there were short queues of 8 people or so, but no scramble. Cars were double-parked all over the streets… Read full post »
FEBRUARY 5, 2011 1:14AM

From Tahrir Square: Whose Revolution?

It seemed important to go to Tahrir square today. After the intimidation tactics deployed against the protesters over the past two days, it seemed important to show that such tactics would not work. For me, issues of safety apart, the personal challenge was overcoming my claustrophobia in crowds.

JuRead full post »

Bless everyone who is keeping your eyes on Tahrir Square today! As one young man told me before the first demonstration ten days ago, "without the eyes of the world, there might be a massacre."

For those who asked about a blog, I post on

And here are links t… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 3, 2011 3:02AM

Notes from a Cairo Balcony: Revolution or Uprising?

I watched from my balcony overlooking the Nile yesterday evening- well after curfew- as Mubarak's NDP thugs streamed down the opposite shore, trucks blaring loud chants, horses and camels in the forefront, and crossed over and made their way to Tahrir Square to wreck havoc and turn a peaceful sit-inRead full post »

Excluding Muslim Americans from sharing in their country's history?

The controversy over the construction of the Park 51 Islamic Center brings back painful memories. For three hours on the morning of 9/11, I did not know if my son was one of the victims; he worked for one of the banks
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Love is Like Water 1.  In your latest book, Love is Like Water, the story that struck me most was "The Zawiya," with its shift of the women's space from the salon to the zawiya, and the face it gives to certain facets of Islamic feminism, still often considered an oxymoron. I liked the revelation… Read full post »
SEPTEMBER 18, 2009 11:23PM

Sharing a Program with John Grisham

I was one of the authors participating in the North Carolina Literary Festival last weekend: three glorious Fall days on the gorgeous UNC campus in Chapel Hill, with keynote speakers John Grisham (practiced), Kathy Reichs (hilarious), Anna Deveare Smith (mesmerizing), Elisabeth Strout (cool… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 3, 2009 10:41AM

Obama's iftar: no dessert?

President Obama hosted an iftar, the breaking of the fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, for ambassadors of Muslim countries, a few cabinet and congressional figures, and some members of the American Muslim community. But then, so did George W. Bush for all eight years of his administration… Read full post »

Watching President Obama's address to the Muslim world on the occasion of Ramadan encourages one to believe in a day, hopefully not too far into the future, when Islam and its practices will be understood and accepted in America. His reference to the concern of Muslims over the spread of swine f… Read full post »

Another article about the link between calorie restriction and longevity based on rat studies, this time in today's NYT. All these studies are conducted on rats and glow-worms. But we do have a study of severe calorie restriction done on a human: Mahatma Ghandi. He still died at 78. Hardly convincing… Read full post »

It is an age-old story, the older woman losing her senses over a handsome young man, and it invariably ends tragically- unless it veers to comedy, in which case it is even more cruel and tragic. Euripides' "Phaedra and Hippolytus" is pure Greek tragedy: illicit passion, incest, pride, prejudice, jeal… Read full post »

Walter Cronkite took courageous, contested stands right through his career, but his last stand was the one so controversial it is pointedly ignored in the elegies that greet the news of his death today. Cronkite was against the Iraq War. Sadly, his legendary stature was inadequate to weigh in the bal… Read full post »

There is an even more disturbing aspect to the Dresden court killing of the young Egyptian woman, Marwa El-Sherbini, who was in court to testify against the German man who had harrassed her on a playground and called her a terrorist and a slut. The man, "Axel W."  attacked he… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 8, 2009 11:11AM

Time to Stop Demonizing the Hijab: Dresden Court Killing

This morning, a news item on BBC radio set me to thinking that it's time to stop demonizing the Islamic headscarf. An Egyptian woman was stabbed to death in a Dresden courtroom by a German against whom she was testifying for insulting her as a "terrorist" earlier, apparently because she was… Read full post »

This July 4th, I'm thankful I can wear my Ralph Lauren flag-print aerobics top for the first time since the Iraq war turned it into an (unwitting!) symbol of militarism. This July 4th, I'm more than ever thankful for my liberal hometown's patriotic parade, and living close enough to ride a… Read full post »

Douthat's lament over America's loveless unions in today's NYT joins the voices, like Cristina Nehring's, that claim that marriage and passion are mutually exclusive. Safe is the opposite of sexy. Americans either live in drab but responsible and productive marriages, or take fatal risks to have wildRead full post »

This post has provoked such interesting comments, they deserve a response. It's a complicated issue, no doubt about it. Personally, when I see a woman in a niqab, whether in France or in Egypt- where women have a choice, unlike Saudi Arabia- I am torn between irritation and pity. But I am… Read full post »

Personally and politically, I tend to lean, with Montaigne, toward tailoring one's behavior to the mores of the country. But from there, to legislating how people must or must not dress, is not a straight line. To some extent, all societies have minimal standards of decency they enforce by law:… Read full post »

The thought-provoking perspectives of the comments I'm receiving on my last post deserve a fuller response. I agree that Iran's electoral process- "democracy" is too loaded a word- is more advanced than that of most of the countries in the Middle East.  For one thing, "assembly" i… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 21, 2009 1:29PM

Iran and Egypt: why it's different and why it's the same

Before the demonstrations started, I admit I watched the Iranian elections with something like envy: in Egypt since the 1952 coup d'état, there are no presidential elections per se, just a yes/no referendum on a single candidate- the one in power- and the results are a foregone conclusion: 99./… Read full post »

Thank you, Jonathan in Tel Aviv, for your interest. Your analogy is interesting, but doesn't hold up in one respect; the Palestinians have always lived in what is Israel since 1948; whereas the Alexandrian Jewish community, overwhelmingly, were recent immigrants, rarely going back… Read full post »

Egypt’s Jews: what Andre Aciman’s article lacks


I read Andre Aciman’s opinion piece in the New York Times today with mixed emotions. If any Muslim Egyptian can empathize with the dispossession and displacement of Egyptian Jews, it is I and families like mine. I can understand… Read full post »

An hour ago Voice of America called for the program "l’Amerique et vous"; I was on a panel about Obama's Cairo speech, with the Washington correspondent for Middle East Times. A Georgetown professor who called in with a short opinion piece surprisingly found fault with President Obama's speech… Read full post »

My first reaction as President Obama strode onto the stage in the grand auditorium of Cairo University was pride in the impressive setting that had been my first alma mater. Then I held my breath as he launched into his much-anticipated speech, wondering if he would manage to pull off the… Read full post »