LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The first democratically-elected president in Egypt’s history has several ties to the Southland.
KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports Mohammed Morsi calls Southern California home to at least some of his academic roots.
Morsi, the new president-elect of Egypt and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, received his Ph.D in engineering from the University of Southern California in 1982.
He also was an assistant professor at Cal State University Northridge from 1982 to 1985 before returning to Egypt.
Morsi emerged from a contentious and highly-anticipated vote on a platform pledging to treat all Egyptian citizens equally, but many Coptic Christians in Egypt fear Morsi will lead from an fundamentalist Islamic foundation.
But while Morsi’s two children were born in the state and are U.S. citizens, USC law school lecturer and Mideast expert Josh Lockman said it remains unclear if Morsi will draw at all upon his Western education.
“I don’t know to what degree his time here will influence future U.S.-Egyptian relations,” said Lockman.
CBS Jerusalem correspondent Robert Berger told KNX 1070’s Bob Brill the transition of power in Cairo is also being closely watched by America’s closest ally in the region: Israel.
“Maybe that he’s been exposed to the West would be a reason for hope, but I think there’s not a lot of hope that he himself will actually be calling the shots,” said Berger. “He’s part of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has a very negative view of Israel.”
Berger underscored a spate of domestic issues facing the president-elect — including possible resistance from the Egyptian military — may at least temporarily put the fate of the shaky 1979 peace treaty between the two nations on the back burner.