The State Department announced Thursday the administration will not present an Egyptian political activist with an award until reviewing anti-Semitic and anti-American statements made by the activist on Twitter.
The Egyptian, Samira Ibrahim, was set to receive an International Women of Courage Award from first lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State. She has denied she made the comments to the State Department and said her account was hacked, the Washington Times reports:
“We as a department became aware very late in the process about Samira Ibrahim’s alleged public comments,” Mrs. Nuland said. “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.”
Mrs. Nuland added that Mrs. Ibrahim “has categorically denied” to the State Department that she wrote the unsavory messages and claimed that “she was hacked” by someone else who made the remarks on her behalf.
“But we need some time and, in order to be prudent, to conduct our own review,” Mrs. Nuland said.
Ibrahim’s tweets, which include statements celebrating the deaths of Israelis and referencing Adolf Hitler, were first reported by the Weekly Standard.
Egyptian activists alerted the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum about Ibrahim’s tweets; the Holocaust Museum subsequently warned the State Department about the tweets on Tuesday, according to Jeffrey Goldberg.
Prior to the State Department’s announcement about the award deferral, Bloomberg reporter Nicole Gaoulette wrote on Twitter Thursday afternoon that State officials believe Ibrahim’s denial.
“State officials tell me they’ve looked at 1000s of her tweets & believe her account was hacked,” Gaoulette tweeted.