Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (b. 1954) has been the leader of Egypt since July 2013.
As defense minister and head of the army, el-Sisi responded to the Egyptian people’s request and removed President Mohamad Morsi from power and dissolved the discredited Muslim Brotherhood government on July 3rd, 2013.
Then, again in response to public appeals, he resigned from the military, ran as a civilian candidate, and was elected president in May 2014. He was re-elected president in March 2018.
El-Sisi was raised in Old Cairo in a religious family from Upper Egypt. They lived in a neighborhood close to al-Azhar mosque that contained Jews, Muslims, and Christians. El-Sisi and his wife, Entissar Amer (his cousin), have three sons and one daughter. El-Sisi is known to be quiet, someone who listens, and one who frequently quotes the Quran.
El-Sisi joined the army and steadily worked his way up, doing training stints with both the British and American military. He became director of military intelligence and a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which ruled Egypt from the resignation of President Mubarak in February 2011 until the inauguration of the Muslim Brotherhood-run government on June 30, 2012.
In August 2012, in a move seen as decreasing the power of the army, President Morsi gave el-Sisi the rank of Colonel General and appointed him Defense Minister, seemingly because el-Sisi was a devout Muslim sympathetic to Brotherhood aims.
President el-Sisi’s approach to governing Egypt has become increasingly controversial. Having never been a politician, he has been running the country almost by himself. He views the Muslim Brotherhood as violent terrorists and serious threats to Egypt’s security. In his ongoing efforts to “destroy” them, el-Sisi has become authoritarian.
The army appears to act with impunity and has killed and arrested far more people in the last few years than it had under former President Mubarak. El-Sisi has cracked down on the press, silenced political opposition, and leads without a political party. The 2018 election was widely viewed as a sham after El-Sisi jailed all but one of the opposition candidates.
At the same time, El-Sisi is friendly toward Christians, has rebuilt many churches destroyed by the army and the Muslim Brotherhood, and publicly affirms Christians as Egyptian citizens who have vital ongoing contributions to make to the future of Egypt.