On Friday March 8, 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. The award, says the press release, is given to “women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women’s rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk.”
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.” Possibly fearing the consequences of her tweet, she deleted it a couple of hours later, but not before a screen shot was saved by an Egyptian activist.
Just today, apparently after having been warned that her vicious tweets might cause her trouble during her visit to the U.S., she has written on twitter: “My account has been previously stolen and any tweet on racism and hatred is not me.” However, in the past she never made any mention of her account being “stolen.” The record of her anti-Semitic tweets is still available online.
The decision to honor Ibrahim reflects poorly on the State Department, which is either incapable of doing the minimum amount of research required to find out who she is, or does not care that the secretary of state and First Lady are about to honor an anti-Semite who longs for violence against Americans. It’s understandable that now with Islamists having come to the fore after all the hope that the Egyptian uprising inspired, American policymakers are looking for the good guys, real liberal activists that deserve U.S. support. Samira Ibrahim is not one of them.
Samuel Tadros is a research fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom