Kirk to Kerry: No Award for Anti-Semite

Illinois Republican calls on State Department to rescind award to Egyptian Twitter fiend

Mark Kirk / AP
March 7, 2013

Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) called on Secretary of State John Kerry to rescind Egyptian activist Samira Ibrahim’s nomination for a women’s courage award following a Weekly Standard report that Ibrahim had praised terrorist attacks against Americans and Israelis on Twitter.

"If the Weekly Standard report is accurate, I urge you to immediately rescind the nomination of Samira Ibrahim and instead grant the award to a more deserving candidate, such as Nasrin Sotoudeh from Iran," Kirk wrote in a letter to Kerry Thursday.

The State Department said Thursday it would "defer" presenting the award to Ibrahim this year so that it could "look further into" her statements.

Ibrahim has made anti-American and anti-Semitic comments on Twitter on numerous occasions, according to the Weekly Standard.

"Today is the anniversary of 9/11. May every year come with America burning," she wrote last September.

Ibrahim reportedly 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," after five Israeli tourists were killed in a terrorist attack in Bulgaria.

She also last August reportedly described the Al Saud family as "dirtier than the Jews"  and later wrote, "no crime against society, takes place, except with the Jews having a hand in it."

Ibrahim said Wednesday that she did not write these comments and that her Twitter account had been hacked on many separate occasions.

The State Department had planned to honor Ibrahim with its International Women of Courage Award for her fight against sexual violence in Egypt. Ibrahim drew international attention last year when she sued the Egyptian military for allegedly subjecting her and other female activists to brutal "forced virginity tests."

Kirk proposed in his letter that the State Department instead give the award to Nasrin Sotoudeh, an imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer who was active in child and domestic abuse cases.

"As stated on the State Department’s website, the International Women of Courage Award ‘honors women around the globe who have exemplified exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for human rights, women’s equality, and social progress, often at great personal risk,’" wrote Kirk. "Based on this criteria, there is no more deserving candidate than Ms. Sotoudeh."