Ilham Omar, a Somalian-American U.S Representative from Minnesota has had threats on her life since she took her seat in office.
And now, thanks to Trump’s need to spew out false information, she is now facing more threats than ever before — so much so that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked the Capitol Police to increase protection around Omar.
On April 12th, Trump tweeted a clearly edited video, with the caption “WE WILL NOT FORGET” of Ilhan saying, “some people did something” in response to the 9/11 attacks. The video that Trump shared cut out a much larger statement that Ilhan actually said, making her seem dismissive of the attacks.
In the larger statement, Ilhan said,
“CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us [Muslims in the U.S.] were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
Her statement focused on the growing prejudice Muslims and Muslim-Americans faced after the attacks, which has continued to skyrocket since Trump took office with his hate mongering.
The controversy surrounding Omar stems from the ridiculous and racist belief that Muslims, by default, sympathize with terrorists and terrorist acts. I highly doubt Trump supporters and Republicans will admit this way of thinking, but it’s obvious that the doctored comments added fuel to their fire.
Since the 9/11 attacks, I’ve found that people expect Muslim Americans to publicly denounce the attacks at every waking moment. We see this with other people of color as well. Instead of people using their common sense and realizing that you can’t demonize a whole group of people based on the actions of some, Muslims and other people of color are expected to make themselves seem as different as possible. And because of his insolence, he has opened up an incredibly dangerous can of worms.
Trump has always tweeted horrible things but this has to be one of the worst things he has done. It’s racist, Islamophobic, and incites violence on innocent American people. There was an attack on Muslim people a month ago in New Zealand, who’s to say this won’t happen in the states?
It is the classic fear of the other tactic that has been used by dangerous politicians throughout history to further their agenda of xenophobia. Does he even realize that his misinformation can get Omar and the millions of Muslims in America killed?
Luckily, countless Democrats like Elizabeth Warren and AOC have come out in defense of Omar. Japanese-American actor George Takei recounted his time in an internment camp and wrote,
“When I was a child, it was Japanese Americans who were vilified as the enemy after Pearl Harbor. No one stood up for us, and 120,000 of us were sent to internment camps. I swore that I’d dedicate my life to ensure this never happens again in America.”
I’m not holding my breath and waiting for Trump to apologize or admit that he was wrong. A reporter brought up the death threats Omar is facing and asked Trump if he had any second thoughts about what he did. Trump’s response was, “No, not at all.”
I’m also not waiting for his supporters, who take everything he says as scripture, to stand up to him. It’s up to us to surround Ilhan with love and support during this time. Hate can not and will not win.
You can read Omar’s full statement in response to Trump’s tweet below:
We are all Americans. This is endangering lives. It has to stop. pic.twitter.com/gwB2kDUIRp
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) April 15, 2019
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