The Obama administration is postponing an award for an Egyptian activist who rallied worldwide attention against atrocities in Egypt, because of anti-American and anti-Semitic comments discovered on her online account.
The State Department announced earlier this week that Samira Ibrahim would be among 10 recipients of the International Women of Courage award presented by Secretary of State John Kerry and First Lady Michelle Obama on Friday.
But State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday the U.S. would hold off on awarding Ibrahim while officials investigate the online posts, which include support for attacks against U.S. diplomatic installations and praise for a terrorist assault against Israeli citizens in Bulgaria.
Ibrahim, who has already arrived in the U.S, says her account was hacked, though the comments stretch back several months.
After five Israelis were killed in a bus explosion in July, she welcomed the “good news.” In other posts, she declared Saudi Arabia’s royal family “dirtier than Jews” and attributed all crimes against society to Jews and referenced Adolf Hitler.
She also voiced support for the attacks against U.S. embassies and consulates on the Sept. 11 anniversary.
“We as a department became aware very late in the process about Samira Ibrahim’s alleged public comments,” Nuland told reporters. “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, and in order to be prudent, to conduct our own review.
Sen. Mark Kirk, a Republican, urged the State Department to investigate and said other women were more deserving of the honor.