In 2006, when Egypt was ruled by strongman Hosni Mubarak, then 22-year-old Cynthia Farahat co-founded the Liberal Egyptian Party, the first secular, classical liberal political party in the country's modern history.
"Sharia law is not friendly to women or minorities or gays," Farahat told Reason. "I wanted to fix my country. I wanted freedom. I wanted liberty."
Mubarak's government responded by sending intelligence agents and the secret police to go after Farahat.
"I was under constant, 24-hour surveillance in Egypt for almost a decade," she says. Government agents would routinely call her in the middle of the night and would sometimes play back recordings of Farahat's conversations with friends recorded in her own living room.
Reason's Justin Monticello spoke with Farahat about her mission to bring a true political alternative to the region, why she vociferously advocates for the Muslim Brotherhood to be labeled a terrorist organization, how Coptic Christians in Egypt are persecuted and blamed for American foreign policy, and why she believes people across the Middle East are hungry for civil liberties and free markets.
Click here for full text, a transcript, and downloadable versions.