Mustafa Amin

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Mustafa Amin
Native name مصطفى أمين
Born (1914-02-21)21 February 1914
Cairo, Egypt
Died 13 April 1997(1997-04-13) (aged 83)
Cairo, Egypt
Nationality Egyptian
Alma mater American University in Cairo
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Occupation Journalist, writer
Years active 1928–1997
Spouse(s) Umm Kulthum
Isis Tantawi
Relatives Saad Zaghloul (great-uncle)

Mustafa Amin (Arabic: مصطفى أمين‎) (b. 21 February 1914 – d. 13 April 1997) was an Egyptian columnist and journalist who enjoyed a great deal of popularity in the Arab world. Known for his liberal perspective, Amin and his brother Ali are regarded as the fathers of modern Arab journalism.[1]


Mustafa and his twin brother Ali (1914–1976), were born in Cairo where their father was a lawyer. They spent their childhood at the house of their great-uncle Saad Zaghloul, a prominent lawyer and politician, who founded the liberal nationalist Wafd Party, and who served as Prime Minister of Egypt in 1922. Amin was educated at the American University in Cairo and at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.[2]

Amin began reporting for the Cairo newspapers in 1928, and had a column in the weekly Akher Saa ("Last Hour") magazine by the time of graduation from the AUC in 1934. After his graduation from Georgetown in 1938, Amin served as editor-in-chief of Akher Saa for a year before moving to Al-Ahram ("The Pyramids") the oldest and most prestigious Middle Eastern daily newspaper. During the 1940s Amin served as a reporter and columnist, but in 1944 left his post as editor of El-ethnin, when he and his brother Ali founded the weekly newspaper Akhbar el-Yom ("Today's News"). Within two years, they took over Akher Saa, and in 1951 founded two more weekly papers Akher Lahza and Al-Guil. Finally in 1952 they launched a daily newspaper Al Akhbar ("The News").[3] Amin and his brother were producing the five best selling news publications in Egypt prior to the nationalization of the Egyptian press by Nasser in 1960.[2]

As an advocate of Western liberalism, free enterprise and a free press, Amin was first jailed in 1939, after criticizing King Farouk, and was also jailed briefly twice in the early 1950s by Nasser. However, in 1965 as Egypt developed closer relations with the Soviet Union, Amin was arrested and accused of being an American spy. After a secret trial he was imprisoned, tortured, and kept in solitary confinement for the next nine years, before eventually being exonerated and released in 1974 by Anwar Sadat.[2]

Amin returned to journalism, serving as editor of Akhbar el-Yom, but from 1976 concentrated more on his widely syndicated daily column Fikra ("An Idea"), which had been started by Ali in 1952.[3][4]

In addition to his journalism, Amin published autobiographical works, several novels, and also wrote film screenplays. He also lectured in journalism at Cairo University and the American University of Cairo.[1] He founded the charity Lailat al-Qadar,[3] raising millions of pounds from donations, to pay medical expenses and provide business assistance for the poor.[4] Amin and his brother also encouraged the celebration of Mother's Day in Egypt.[2]

Amin continued writing up until his death on 13 April 1997.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Amin married Isis Tantawi and had a daughter, Safia, and a granddaughter.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b Luqman, Farouk (22 June 2012). "Mustafa Amin: Founder of modern Arab journalism". Arab News. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Jehl, Douglas (16 April 1997). "Mustafa Amin, Liberal Editor Jailed by Nasser, Dies at 83". The New York Times (New York: NYTC). ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Darwish, Adel (15 April 1997). "Obituary: Mustafa Amin". The Independent (London: INM). ISSN 0951-9467. OCLC 185201487. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Napoli, James (1997). "Death of Mustafa Amin Evokes Nostalgia for Egypt's Brave Journalist". Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Darwish, Adel (15 April 1997). "Obituary: Mustafa Amin". Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  6. ^ JEHL, DOUGLAS (April 16, 1997). "Mustafa Amin, Liberal Editor Jailed by Nasser, Dies at 83". Retrieved 23 June 2015. 

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