Ilhan Omar

Rep. Elect Ilhan Omar addresses an enthusiastic DFL crowd after the Democrats took the majority in the U.S. House. Omar, who is Muslm, is the first Somali-American to serve in Congress. 

Politics is certainly a contact sport, but for Rep. Ilhan Omar it’s turning into a blood sport and we must speak out in support of Minnesota’s Fifth District representative.

When we say support, we don’t have to necessarily support her every stance – though she is bringing several critical issues to the forefront – but we must support her right to speak out – and ultimately, to legislate. Most importantly, we must call out these white nationalists and other Islamophobic hate mongers, whose vitriol has led to a bombarding of the freshman congresswoman with credible death threats. Equally, we must call out those on both sides of the isle who have either remained silent or haven’t spoken out in the most vociferous tone to condemn the sources of this animus. And sadly, yet not surprisingly, a great deal of this venom comes from our nation’s president, Donald Trump.

The latest round of death threats comes following a Trump April 12 tweet. Yes, the latest round; a man, Patrick W. Carlineo, 55, was charged with threatening to “put a (expletive) bullet in her head” during a March 21 call answered by an Omar staffer. Trump’s tweet is a video montage that begins with Omar, who is Muslim and Somali-born, speaking during an event sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) saying, “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognize that some people did something.” Then the video goes to show images from 9/11 including one of the planes used to carry-out the terror attack crashing into the World Trade Center and clips of the towers collapsing. The video flashes back to Omar saying, “some people did something” and is followed by text reading, “Some people did something?” The video – viewed more than 10 million times – ends with the words, “September 11, 2001, we remember.”

Yes, indeed, we do remember.

While Omar was incorrect in the founding of CAIR– CAIR was founded prior to 9/11, as some on the far right have been pointing out, attempting to cutdown the congresswoman at any turn –CAIR refocused its energies to further combat Islamophobia following several violent incidents upon Muslims. But Omar was more than correct in stating that “some people did something.” Again, we remember. We remember those “some people” were identified as Saudi nationals, and as you know, Trump is closely (maybe too closely) aligned with the Saudis. And if your argument for Trump’s buddy-buddy relationship with the rich Saudis is, “Well it wasn’t all Saudis,” I totally agree. The same way it was “some people” when these racists and xenophobes holler, “Muslims were behind 9/11.”

Oh, it’s not the “some people” that has you all hot and bothered? It’s the “did something?” To quote Jules from “Pulp Fiction,” “Well allow me to retort.”

What happened on Sept. 11, 2001 was horrific … the greatest single-day tragedy on American soil. We also remember the many atrocities committed by Americans during the era of slavery and Jim Crow.

According to the United Nations, some 17 million human beings were enslaved during the 400-year period of slavery and according to the “Encyclopedia Britannica” it’s estimated that 25 percent died during the transatlantic slave trade. That’s just during the period of slavery. It’s estimated that some 4,500 Blacks were lynched in America from 1877 to 1950. That’s just lynching … not death by beatings (see Emmett Till), death by bombing (see 16th Street Baptist Church), death by bullet (see the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., et al.) and death by a combination of lynching, beating, bullet and bomb (see Black Wall Street/Tulsa, Okla. massacre). Let us also remember the wiping out of some entire indigenous nations, with more than 150 massacres documented.  

So yeah, “some people did something.” And it was horrific.

And again, we remember. We remember right-wing darling Alex Jones said 9/11 was an inside job. And remember, Jones is a man who Trump has lauded with praise. So, who are these “some people?” Is it “the Muslims” or the American Government? You can’t have it both ways.  

Well according to at least one Trump supporter who spoke to a Unicorn Riot reporter at an April 15 Trump rally in Burnsville (the video is posted on the Insight News Facebook page), “the truth is 9/11 was Muslims … Muslims did that. You know it and I know it. And Ilhan Omar, she wants to infiltrate our government just like (Attorney General) Keith Ellison (who is also Muslim). But you wanna know who did this? (former president Barack) Obama. Obama did this to us. He brought 80,000 Muslims to Minnesota against our will … against our will.”

To a rational thinking person that’s “crazy talk.” But unfortunately there are a lot of crazy talkers out there. The person known as Individual One in a criminal indictment is one of them. And he provides cover for all the others who espouse hate cloaked as patriotism.

Seriously folks, doesn’t this scare the mess out of you? It does me. I’m sure it does the congresswoman too.

Since taking office Omar has yet to hold a town hall or community meeting in her district … with her constituents. I can’t say what are her exact reasons for not being in public spaces with her constituents, but I can hypothesize. I’m sure she, an affable and gregarious woman, would love to be out in her district, talking to the people she was elected to serve, but instead she’s having to talk to the FBI about her security detail.

I am a resident of Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District. Omar is my representative. I want my representative to be able to speak directly to me and the 677,000-plus other residents of the district. We deserve that. And we deserve to do so knowing our representative and those who want to dialogue with her directly are not in harms way.

As I said at the onset, politics is a contact sport and we want to be able to have contact with the person elected to serve our district. Politics should never be a blood sport. Enough blood has been shed to last a thousand lifetimes.

Rep. Omar, we support you. 

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