Following are excerpts from an interview with Hajj Abd Al-Nabi, the official executioner of Egypt, which was posted on the Internet on September 8, 2013.
Hajj Abd Al-Nabi: I am the executioner of the Arab Republic of Egypt. I hold the rank of chief warrant officer in the police and the prison authority. I am Egypt's executioner, responsible for carrying out the death penalty.
I love people, and people love me, but when I am doing my job, I am carrying out the law of Allah.
When it comes to carrying out our my job, I am tough. The murderer has done an abominable thing, and I cannot be soft with him. If I were soft towards this criminal, I wouldn't be able to execute him, but when I'm at home, with my kids, I am as calm as can be.
I have placed [the noose] around some 800 heads – tough people, big people, young people... All the despicable crimes – killing, adultery, premeditated murder, and so on... I carry out all the death sentences.
In all honesty, I love my work. I just love it! I never say "no" when they need me at work. This is my work and my livelihood.
When I was young – about 13 or 14 years old – the dry Ismailiya Canal in Shubra Al-Kheima still had water in it. My hobby was to catch a cat, to place a rope around its neck, to strangle it, and throw it into the water. I would get hold of any animal – even dogs. I would strangle these animals and throw them into the water – even dogs.
Interviewer: That was a long time ago...
Hajj Abd Al-Nabi: Yes, when I was 13 or 14 years old. Strangulation was my hobby. When I applied for the job and did well on the tests – proving that I could take the psychological pressure and so on – they said: "Congratulations. Now, grow a moustache."
The truth is that my heart is dead, because executing comes from the heart, not the moustache. Only if you have a heart of stone can you be content in this line of work.
My parents were hard on me. They would say: "This will get you to hell!" I would say to them: "The cat bit me," "The cat bit some kid," "The dog bit a boy in the leg, and the leg got infected." I became the enemy of all things harmful to Mankind.
Interviewer: So you were violent as a boy...
Hajj Abd Al-Nabi: I was a little Satan...
Interviewer: Did you strangle many kids you were playing with?
Hajj Abd Al-Nabi: Whenever I would place my hands around a kid's neck, I would go soft when I remembered that it was a child, not an animal.
Interviewer: So you had a disposition toward this job from a young age...
Hajj Abd Al-Nabi: It's a gift.
Interviewer: Strangling is a gift?
Hajj Abd Al-Nabi: A great gift. I love my job very much, and I can't give it up. Even when I retire, I will report for duty in emergencies. I will leave this job only when I am dead.