'We can read Arabic too!' US embassy tells Egypt's Brotherhood
US calls out Muslim Brotherhood after group officials tweet one thing in English and another in Arabic in response to ongoing anti-film demonstrations
Ahram Online, Thursday 13 Sep 2012
While Egyptian protesters battled security forces outside the US embassy on Thursday morning, another standoff was taking place -- this time in cyberspace.
The Muslim Brotherhood's official English-language Twitter account @Ikwanweb reposted a message from the group's deputy head, Khairat El-Shater, saying he was "relieved none of @USembassycairo staff was hurt" and expressing his hope that US-Egypt relations could weather the events.
This reconciliatory tweet, however, was posted while the Brotherhood's Arabic-language Twitter account and its official website were both praising the protests -- staged against a US-made film judged defamatory towards Islam -- and calling for a million man march on Friday.
One Arabic language article on the Brotherhood's site sported the headline 'Egyptians rise to defend the Prophet'.
Noting the contradiction, the US Embassy in Cairo tweeted a tart response from its own account: "Thanks. By the way, have you checked out your own Arabic feeds? I hope you know we read those too."
Seemingly stung, the Brotherhood replied some 20 minutes later, saying "we understand you're under a lot of stress, but it will be more helpful if you point out exactly the Arabic feed of concern."
They were just three tweets, but they provided a snapshot into the strains US-Egypt relations are under this week.
It took President Mohamed Morsi more than two days to officially condemn the breaching of Cairo's US Embassy grounds by angry protesters.
US President Barack Obama on Wednesday said that Egypt is neither an ally nor an enemy of the United States.
"I don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy," Obama said in excerpts of an interview with Telemundo aired by MSNBC.
"And if they take actions that indicate they're not taking those responsibilities, as all other countries do where we have embassies, I think that's going to be a real big problem."