The physiotherapy student who was brutally gang raped on a moving bus in New Delhi and nine other women will be honoured in United States for their courage on Friday. But the US government has decided against presenting the award to Egyptian activist Samira Ibrahim.
The decision emerged on Thursday after it was found that she appeared to voice support for terrorist acts and made anti-Semitic statements in a series of tweets last year.
Ms. Ibrahim, 26, was selected for the award after she exposed “virginity tests” conducted by the Egyptian army on girls arrested in Tahrir Square during the revolution.
On Friday State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the decision not to give Ms. Ibrahim the award was made after reviewing her tweets, including a statement on the anniversary of 9/11 in which she said, “May every year come with America burning.” In other posts, the Egyptian declared Saudi Arabia’s royal family “dirtier than Jews” and tweeted a quote attributed to Adolf Hitler referring to Jews “having a hand” in all societal crimes.
“We obviously had to do what we considered right under the circumstances. It’s unfortunate, but it was the right thing to do,” Ms. Nuland said at a briefing, adding that Ms. Ibrahim was being sent back to Egypt at US expense.
Secretary of State John Kerry will preside at the ceremony and First Lady Michelle Obama also will attend. The award has been presented annually since 2007 to recognize women who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women’s rights and empowerment often are at great personal risk.
Other recipients include women from Afghanistan, Honduras, Nigeria, Russia, and Somalia. Recipients from China, Syria and Vietnam were not able to travel and will be honoured in absentia, the State Department said.
The ceremony coincides with International Women’s Day.