Michael Kappeler—DPA/AP
April 23, 2014 5:48 PM EDT

When the former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi appointed Abdul Fattah al-Sisi as his Defense Minister, few outside military circles knew the name of the soft-spoken general who would ultimately remove Morsi from power.

Today al-Sisi is the most popular political figure in Egypt. To his supporters, he is the “Lion of Egypt,” a patriot who answered the call of millions by removing Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from power. But to others, he is a tyrant who overthrew Egypt’s first freely elected leader in a military coup.

[time-related-module] Whatever view one holds, the fact remains that since Egypt’s “coup-volution,” the country has witnessed one of its bloodiest eras. Thousands of people, including civilians and security personnel, have been killed during clashes or by terrorists, and thousands more have been detained by the police.

With al-Sisi now running for President in an election he is expected to win, many in Egypt are asking: Will he be the country’s savior or its next pharaoh?

Mohyeldin is an NBC News correspondent

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