Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas mixed up the names of Egypt’s democratically elected president and his ousted authoritarian predecessor when he tried to thank his hosts at an Islamic summit in Cairo on Wednesday.
Abbas intended to thank Egypt for supporting the Palestinian cause. He began by saying “President Mohammed Hosni,” then stopped short and corrected himself to say “Mohammed Morsi.” Former Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak’s full name was Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak.
Morsi remained impassive during the gaffe, with only a slight movement of the mouth that hinted at disapproval.
Morsi frequently mentions that he is Egypt’s first freely elected leader after the 2011 uprising that ended nearly three decades of Mubarak’s authoritarian rule.
Abbas’s gaffe amused the twittersphere. Gregor Stuart Hunter, a journalist with the UAE-based newspaper The National, tweeted:
Cairo- and Beirut-based journalist Patrick Galey remarked that Abbas’s slip of the tongue inadvertently reflected popular views among Arabs online: