Laila Soueif

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Laila Soueif
Born 1956 (age 61–62)
Residence Cairo, Egypt
Nationality Egyptian
Alma mater Cairo University
Occupation human and women's rights activist, and mathematician
Title Professor of mathematics, Cairo University
Spouse(s) Ahmed Seif El-Islam (died 2014)
Children Alaa Abd El-Fattah
Sanaa Seif
Mona Seif
Relatives Ahdaf Soueif (sister)

Laila Soueif (born 1956) is an Egyptian human and women's rights activist, a mathematician and professor at Cairo University. Al Jazeera has called her "An Egyptian revolutionary".[1] She is the widow of fellow activist Ahmed Seif El-Islam, and all three of their children are noted activists, Alaa Abd El-Fattah, Sanaa Seif, and Mona Seif. her sister is the novelist Ahdaf Soueif.

Early life[edit]

Soueif was born in 1956, the daughter of university professors.[2] She went to her first political protest in 1972 in Cairo's Tahrir Square, when she was just 16.[2] Two hours later her parents tracked her down and brought her home, "From that, I learned that it was easier to defy the state than to defy my parents".[2]

Soueif studied mathematics at Cairo University in the mid-1970s.[2]


Soueif is a professor of mathematics at Cairo University.[3][1]

Soueif is the founder of the 9 March Professors' Movement for Universities Independence.[3]

In November 2014, Soueif and her daughter Mona Seif ended a 76-day hunger strike, protesting against the imprisonment of her son Alaa Abd El-Fattah, but El-Fattah and his sister Sanaa Seif reportedly remained on hunger strike.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Soueif met her future husband, Ahmed Seif El-Islam, while at Cairo University in the mid-1970s, where he was already the "leader of an underground communist student cell calling for revolution".[2] He became a left-wing human rights activist and lawyer, and they were married until his death in 2014.

They are the parents of the activists Alaa Abd El-Fattah, Sanaa Seif and Mona Seif.[4][1] Her sister is the novelist Ahdaf Soueif.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "An Egyptian revolutionary". Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Al-awsat, Asharq. "Laila Soueif Archives - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive". ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Loading site please wait..." Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Family of jailed Egypt activists on hunger strike". Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  5. ^ Scott Anderson (4 May 2017). Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart. Pan Macmillan. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-5098-5272-7. Retrieved 12 November 2017.