Claim: John Kerry will be presenting an award to Samira Ibrahim, an Egyptian woman who issued anti-semitic and anti-U.S. statements via Twitter.
Example:[Collected via Facebook, March 2013]
This past September 11th, as a mob was attacking the United States embassy in Cairo, Samira Ibrahim, a women's rights activist in Egypt, tweeted the following... "Today is the anniversary of 9/11. May every year come with America burning." This same woman routinely posts antisemitic tweets against Jews, and on July 18th, after five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed by a suicide bombing attack, she tweeted... "Today is a very sweet day with a lot of very sweet news." Why am I telling you about this woman? Tomorrow, Michelle Obama will join John Kerry at a special ceremony at the State Department to present ten women the Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award. Samira Ibrahim, a supporter of terrorists, is one of these ten women who will be honored. Has our government has lost it's freakin' mind?!?
Origins: During the first week in March 2013, ten women were slated to join First Lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at a special State Department ceremony to be honored with the Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award, which recognizes "women who have displayed exceptional courage and leadership as women's rights advocates." One of those women was Egyptian activist Samira Ibrahim, described thusly by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Samira Ibrahim, coordinator of Know Your Rights in Egypt, took part in the March 2011 sit-ins at Tahrir Square, where she was among a group of women who were beaten, strip-searched and given virginity tests. After that, she said, the powers that be "expected silence," but she brought charges against the military, and virginity testing was banned by a civilian court in December 2011.
Her experience led to the founding of Know Your Rights. "Our goal is to encourage young women to share their stories using social media, to share those stories of sexual violations or any kind of violations, and to educate women about their political rights."
However, on 6 March 2013 the Weekly Standard reported that Ibrahim had issued tweets (i.e., statements posted via Twitter) demonstrating that she "is an anti-Semite and supports the 9/11 attacks on the United States":
Five of these awards are being given to women from Muslim-majority countries, underscoring the unique plight of women in those countries. The only problem is that one of the women to be recognized is an anti-Semite and supports the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
Samira Ibrahim, as the State Department's profile describes her, "was among seven women subjected by the Egyptian military to forced virginity tests in March 2011." The press release further notes that Samira "was arrested while in high school for writing a paper that criticized Arab leaders' insincere support to the
Palestinian cause." Apparently, the State Department is unaware of her other convictions.
On Twitter, Ibrahim is quite blunt regarding her views. On July 18 of last year, after five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed a suicide bombing attack, Ibrahim jubilantly tweeted: "An explosion on a bus carrying Israelis in Burgas airport in Bulgaria on the Black Sea. Today is a very sweet day with a lot of very sweet news."
Ibrahim frequently uses Twitter to air her anti-Semitic views. Last August 4, commenting on demonstrations in Saudi Arabia, she described the ruling Al Saud family as "dirtier than the Jews." Seventeen days later she tweeted in reference to Adolf Hitler: "I have discovered with the passage of days, that no act contrary to morality, no crime against society, takes place, except with the Jews having a hand in it. Hitler."
Ibrahim holds other repellent views as well. As a mob was attacking the United States embassy in Cairo on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, pulling down the American flag and raising the flag of Al Qaeda, Ibrahim wrote on twitter: "Today is the anniversary of 9/11. May every year come with America burning."
The Weekly Standard included Ibrahim's recent claim that her "[Twitter] account has been previously stolen and any tweet on racism and hatred is not me" but skeptically noted that "in the past she never made any mention of her account being 'stolen.'"
The following day, the Obama administration announced it was postponing the issuance of the Women of Courage Award to Samira Ibrahim pending the results of an investigation into the source of the tweets attributed to her:
A State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, confirmed that Ms. Ibrahim would not be honored, pending an investigation of her Twitter account. "We, as a department, became aware very late in the process about Samira Ibrahim's alleged public comments," Ms. Nuland told reporters. "After careful consideration, we've decided that we should defer presenting this award to Ms. Ibrahim this year so that we have a chance to look further into these statements. I would say that in conversations with us in the last 24 hours, Ms. Ibrahim has categorically denied authorship. She asserts that she was hacked. But we need some time in order to be prudent to conduct our own review."
To convince the State Department that her account was hacked, Ms. Ibrahim would need to explain why she made no mention of it until months after a series of objectionable updates were posted in her name.
The Weekly Standard then reported that Samira Ibrahim apparently contradicted her claim that her Twitter account had been hacked and acknowledged that the controversial tweets had been issued by her:
Ibrahim claimed that her Twitter page had been "stolen" and she was not responsible for the hateful comments. The State Department announced it was deferring her award pending further review.
Finally, Ibrahim herself has spoken, writing in Arabic on her Twitter page. Egyptian democracy activist Mina Rezkalla provides the translation: "I refuse to apologize to the Zionist lobby in America regarding my previous anti-Zionist statements under pressure from American government therefore they withdrew the award."
This would seem to settle the question as to whether or not her page had been "stolen."
Samira Ibrahim's name and biographical information have since been removed from State Department press releases and announcements about the International Women of Courage Award Winners.
Last updated: 8 March 2013
Mackey, Robert. "Egyptian Activist Dropped from U.S. Honors List for Tweets."
The Washington Post. 7 March 2013.
McCoy, Adrian. "Four International Women of Courage Make Pittsburgh Stop."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 4 March 2013.
Michael, Maggie. "US Postpones Award to Honor Egyptian Woman Activist."
The Washington Post. 7 March 2013.
Smith, Lee. "Samira Ibrahim Speaks."
The Weekly Standard. 7 March 2013.
Tadros, Samuel. "Michelle Obama and John Kerry to Honor Anti-Semite and 9/11 Fan."