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US State Department to honour Egypt's Samira Ibrahim

Egyptian activist Samira Ibrahim, who stood against Egyptian military's notorious 'virginity tests,' will be honoured by US State Department on Friday – despite activist's controversial past statements

Ayat Al-Tawy, Thursday 7 Mar 2013
Samira Ibrahim
Samira Ibrahim flashes a victory sign after a court ruling ending the practice in Cairo, in December 2011. (Photo: Ahmed Ali/AP).
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UPDATE:  US postpones award for Samira Ibrahim over tweetshttp://: http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/66390.aspx-

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The US State Department has selected Egyptian activist Samira Ibrahim, among ten women from across the globe, for its International Women of Courage Award.

The award will be presented by the First Lady Michelle Obama and the Secretary of State John Kerry, on the occasion of International Women's Day on 8 March, at an official ceremony at the US State Department.

Ibrahim, 26, took the Egyptian military to court for the sexual assault she said she was subjected to – along with seven other women – when the Egyptian military forced her to undergo a "virginity test" after she was arrested during a protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square in March 2011.

Although the army doctor who administered the tests was acquitted, Ibrahim's case prompted the military to issue an order forbidding the practice in December 2012.

"The Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award annually recognises women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women’s rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk," read an official statement by the State Department on Monday.

The other awardees for this year are from Afghanistan, Honduras, Russia, Somalia, Nigeria, China, Syria, Vietnam, and India.

"Since the inception of the award in 2007, the Department of State has honoured 67 women from 45 different countries," the statement added.

The recognition of Ibrahim, however, is expected to fuel controversy as some foreign media outlets have dug up "anti-Semitic"  and "anti-US" statements made by Ibrahim.

Ibrahim posted on the eleventh anniversary of the US 9/11 attack: "Today is the anniversary of 9/11. May [we] every year see the US burning."

Other controversial views she broadcasted on her Twitter account started to re-surface.

Last August, Ibrahim condemned the Saudi Arabia ruling Al-Saud family for the arrest of an Egyptian lawyer, bluntly describing the family as "dirtier than the Jews."

Earlier in the same month, Samira quoted Adolf Hitler as saying "I have discovered by the passage of time that the Jews have hands in any act against morality and any crime against society."

On 18 July 2012, Ibrahim tweeted: "An explosion on a bus carrying Israelis in Burgas airport in Bulgaria on the Black Sea. Today is such a lovely day with a lot of lovely news," referring to a suicide bomb attack that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver.

Seemingly alarmed at an imminent denunciation, at least for the State Department over what the West might see as an 'unsound choice,' she wrote on Tuesday that her Twitter account has been "hacked more than once and any tweet about racism or hatred was not mine."

Ahram Online attempted to speak with Ibrahim but she was unavailable to comment.

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