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U.S. Embassy criticizes Muslim Brotherhood for conflicting tweets
The English and Arabic Twitter accounts of Egypt’s ruling party had very different messages about recent attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
Inconsistencies between the English and Arabic Twitter feeds of Egypt’s ruling party, the Muslim Brotherhood, led to a brief international dispute that played out on the social networking site Wednesday night.
It appears that the Muslim Brotherhood’s English-language feed tweeted sympathy to the U.S. for recent attacks on the American embassy in Cairo, spurred by a low-budget American film that insults Islam. But a few hours later, the Brotherhood’s Arabic-language feed tweeted praise for those same attacks.
Either that, or whoever runs the U.S. Embassy’s Twitter account misread the situation, and later deleted a snarky tweet directed at the Brotherhood.
On Wednesday evening, the official English-language account for the Muslim Brotherhood, @Ikhwanweb, tweeted that a prominent party member said “We r relieved none of @USEmbassyCairo staff were harmed & hope US-Eg relations will sustain turbulence of Tuesday’s events.”
From its Arabic-language account, however, the Brotherhood tweeted a different sentiment. Translated, it read, “Egyptians rise to defend the Prophet.” The tweet linked to a post on the Brotherhood’s Arabic-language site, describing “angry students” who claimed “victory” over “slanderous claims in an American film.” The post doesn’t appear to specifically address violence against the U.S. embassy, but it doesn’t condemn the violence, either.
The U.S. Embassy was not amused. Though a tweet from the Embassy’s official account has since been deleted, English-language Egyptian news site Ahram captured a screengrab of the American response. It reads, “Thanks. By the way, have you checked out your own Arabic feeds? I hope you know we read those too.”
The English-language Brotherhood account replied, “@usembassycairo 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.”
Is this evidence of duplicity from the Muslim Brotherhood? Is the fact that the U.S. embassy deleted their tweet evidence that they read too much into the situation? The embassy didn’t respond to the Daily Dot’s request for clarification about what happened or why it apparently deleted its tweet.
All three Twitter accounts seem to have moved on to different subjects. Most recently, the U.S. embassy linked to President Obama’s condemnation of attacks on Americans in Libya. The Arabic-language Muslim Brotherhood feed posted about an Egyptian-Italian partnership.
The English-language Muslim Brotherhood account took a different approach, though. It tweeted a link to a live performance of Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), singing “Peace Train” and called the singer “A Great American Storyteller & Hero.”
Photo via @USembassycairo
A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.