When Mina Henein bravely shared his story of recovery from addiction with SAT-7 ARABIC viewers, he received a surprise outpouring of love and support. During Mina’s appearance on Needle and New Thread, live calls flooded in from old friends, a family member, and even his boss – all expressing their admiration and respect.

Mina and his wife Carol appeared on the women’s talk show on 15 November, when the discussion topic was the role of parents in arranging marriages. Mina, who struggled with heroin addiction for eight years, is now a certified life coach and happily married himself.


One very moving unexpected call came from Mina’s mother-in-law, Layla. Both Mina and Carol were visibly delighted as Layla said:

Mina and Carol listen to Layla, Carol’s mother

“I always felt that [Mina’s] heart is pure, and he is true to himself. I wanted him to feel loved and that we all sin. I never felt threatened by Carol’s choice because I know Mina well. He had difficult circumstances, but I am sure that he is changing for the better and will be a special person.”

Layla’s tolerant words are especially remarkable because, in Egypt, where the family live, attitudes to addiction are often conservative. Many Egyptian parents also feel it is particularly important for a daughter to marry a partner who they consider to be respectable.

Another special call came from Hemdan, Mina’s manager, who said,

“I didn’t know this about Mina before. We’ve only worked together for eight months. Mina is a wonderful person. Well done Mina. I’m so proud to be working with him. I wish him every success in life.”


Other calls came from longstanding friends of Mina’s, including Randa Arida, who shared that Mina’s courage inspires her. Randa said:

“He makes a difference by giving young men a good example of success. He finally overcame an addiction that many people can’t survive. He’s a good example of someone who overcame such a tough obstacle. I’m proud to know him.”

For his part, Mina simply said, “I want to give all the glory to the Lord because He saved me.”

The rest of the episode explored the topic of marriage arrangements through discussion with guests, a dramatised conversation between a mother and daughter, and interviews with children about their views.


As engaged couples in Egypt usually cannot afford to set up home on their own, some degree of parental involvement is ordinary. Young people may feel great pressure around their choice of partner, with some even feeling they have no say in their marriages.

Mariam, a viewer from Cairo, called in to say, “Someone has proposed to me. I don’t like him, but my parents are forcing me to marry him.”

Several other callers commented that while parents can give valuable advice based on their life experience, ultimately the decision should remain with the couple. “I can’t force my daughter to marry someone she doesn’t like. That’s wrong, and it creates problems,” said one father.

Guest Randa Rizkallah, a social counsellor, encouraged couples and parents to see each other’s point of view. She explained:

“Parents must realise that their children are human beings and one day they will separate from them. Children must realise that when their parents interfere in their plans for marriage, it is because they love them. Sometimes this comes from a desire for control, but not most of the time. There must be a balance in communication.”

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