The Latino Community Overlaps With Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Identity And We Need To Support That Community
Many of us have rallied behind the youngest Latina ever to be elected to Congress. We’ve lambasted critics who pick apart what car her tía drives, what lipstick she wears, and her Spanish accent. Supporting strong women of color in politics does matter because they are under far more scrutiny than any other politician whose views might align with our own.
For Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, the magnifying glass is arguably worse than for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. While Ilhan Omar’s ideology is most closely similar to AOC than of any other Congressperson to date, Omar is receiving death threats on a daily basis.
To fight against systemic oppression and racism towards Latinos and to ignore the Islamophobia and racism facing Rep. Ilhan Omar would be hypocritical.
That’s why AOC supporters should stand with Rep. Ilhan Omar. Here are some reasons why the first Somali-American woman in Congress needs the support of other communities under fire by the current administration.
Her primary offense is that she’s a strong, black Muslim woman in Congress.
Omar is the first refugee to be elected to Congress and she’s working to combat systemic Islamophobia in this country. Her campaign path to election rode on tearing down Trump’s Muslim ban. She’s not loved by the GOP.
During a speech, Omar defended her religion against the nationwide presumption that an entire religion is responsible for the actions of extremists.
She was speaking to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), when she said, “Far too long we [Muslims] have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen, and frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it.”
The horrible thing Omar said was that “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
Then, The New York Post published this on their front page:
Fox News personality Sean Hannity tweeted it out, as a means to persuade the public that Rep. Omar was downplaying the tragedy of 9/11. Conservative outlets are trying to tout that Omar doesn’t consider the event a terrorist attack. ????
Then, the President of the United States tweeted out this:
It was a video stitched together of Omar saying “some people did something” with horrific footage of 9/11, along with the caption, “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!”
“Since the President’s tweet Friday evening, I have experienced an increase in direct threats on my life — many directly referencing or replying to the President’s video.”
One man has been arrested for a credible death threat to the Congresswoman and hundreds of Twitter users have directly tweeted unspeakable threats to her. The Anaheim chapter of CAIR has also since received a bomb threat.
Several Democrats have rejected Omar’s financial contributions to their campaigns.
Georgia Rep. Lucy McBath rejected a $2,000 donation that was made on March 27. North Carolina’s 9th congressional district candidate Dan McCready even refunded $2,000 to Omar because of her “divisiveness.”
Some Twitter users noted that they wouldn’t be supporting McBath or McCready’s campaigns any longer.
The New York Times has published several pieces against the Congresswoman.
She got into some trouble in February for saying “money talks” in regards to the U.S.’s favor of the state of Israel in regards to its occupation of Palestine.
Rep. Omar’s supporters are calling out her critics.
The New York Times opinion piece entirely misquoted Omar as an effort to bring her down with one clause in a sentence. Critics are tweeting things like, “Ilhan Omar becomes the first Congressperson to refer to 9/11 as ‘some people did something.’ Unbelievable.”
The double standard for a black Muslim woman versus a rich, white male celebrity is appalling.
The country is in an uproar over Ilhan saying “some people did something” when POTUS called Charlottesville Nazis “some very fine people.” We cannot forget that the president of the United States also called himself a proud nationalist.
Minnesotans are rallying together to show their support for the Congresswoman.
The attacks she’s experienced by the right are completely disproportional to what she has said, especially given the rhetoric of the president, who has sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Many feel this is just another example of how strong women of color are overly criticized.
AOC tweeted out this reminder for us all to support Omar:
If we, as Latinos, don’t come through to support Omar as she faces dog whistle racist remarks from our President, then how can we expect any non-Latinos to speak out against putting brown children in cages?
Omar is a living, breathing example of how Islamophobia derides any effort for Muslims to regain first-class citizen status.
Omar was simply speaking to her experience with unjustified islamophobia.
Nobody will ever forget what happened on September 11, 2001. It’s a tragedy has become part of our collective American consciousness.
There’s no question that America wrongly turned to our fellow Muslim Americans with suspicion and even violent hatred. Media began this islamophobic stereotype that Muslim values cannot align with American values and that Muslims are inherently un-American.
Democratic Presidential Candidate Julián Castro has publicly sided with Omar.
In a tweet, Castro firmly spoke out against Omar’s attackers:
“I am grateful for @IlhanMN‘s courage and leadership and I stand with her – and with others targeted by the President’s anti-Muslim rhetoric.”
“It is not anti-Semitic to be critical of a right-wing government in Israel.”
During the #BernieTownHall on Fox News, Democratic Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, defended Ilhan against the incessant attacks she’s received in her short term. Bernie Sanders has cracked open the taboo subject of Israeli President Netanyahu’s occupation of Palestine by telling Intercept that he would cut US aid to Israel if the injustice continued.
An entire Presidential candidate is proof that you can be Jewish and stand with Omar.
Trump has no qualms about his tweet. He told reporters that Omar has “a way about her that’s very, very bad, I think, for our country. She’s extremely unpatriotic and extremely disrespectful to our country.”
If that’s not a dog whistle we don’t know what is.
Jewish organizations have voiced their support for Omar.
We are all entitled to speak about our experience of racism and fight to change the status quo. All this has prompted tweets like this one from POTUS:
“Before Nancy, who has lost all control of Congress and is getting nothing done, decides to defend her leader, Rep. Omar, she should look at the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and ungrateful U.S. HATE statements Omar has made. She is out of control, except for her control of Nancy!”
Amidst all this, Omar has officially introduced the No Ban Act to Congress.
In Omar’s own words, “I ran on a promise to end the president’s hateful effort to ban a single religion from entering this country. Last week, I introduced the
#NoBanAct to finally end this discrimination.”
Omar may arguably be putting her life in more danger, but won’t back down from protecting Muslims in the U.S.
“This country was founded on the ideas of justice, of liberty, of the pursuit of happiness,” she tweeted. “But these core beliefs are under threat. Each and every day. We are under threat by an administration that would rather cage children than pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
We stand with you, Rep. Omar.
“I did not run for Congress to be silent. I did not run for Congress to sit on the sidelines. I ran because I believed it was time to restore moral clarity and courage to Congress. To fight and to defend our democracy,” she tweeted.
Thank you for your service.