Ilhan Omar Faces Islamophobia From Her Own Political Party

United States Representative, Ilhan Omar, was caught in a crossfire with Jewish Representatives from the Democratic party over her recent question where she supposedly piled the U.S., Israel, Hamas, and the Taliban in the same category.

During a video conference with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Omar called for justice for “all victims of crimes against humanity.” She shared a video of the conference on her Twitter account and wrote, “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban. I asked Secretary Blinken where people are supposed to go for justice.”

A statement by Representative Brad Scheider, D-I11, and 11 other Jewish Democrats was released a few days later, labelling the remarks as misguided and asking Omar to clarify what she’d meant.

Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, also rebuked Omar and said, in a statement with the House majority leader, “Drawing false equivalencies between democracies like the U.S. and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban foments prejudice and undermines progress toward a future of peace and security for all.”

Omar then tweeted that it was shameful that her fellow representatives from the same Democratic party who’d occasionally seek her support on issues where they needed her couldn’t give her a call in private and ask her for an explanation.

She went on to clarify what she meant in her statement, saying that “citing an open case against Israel, US, Hamas & Taliban in the ICC isn’t comparison or from ‘deeply seated prejudice.’ You might try to undermine these investigations or deny justice to their victims but history has thought us that the truth can’t be hidden or silenced forever.”

Omar, like many other Muslims, is no stranger to Islamophobic attacks and has had to deal with her fair share of taunts, insults and slurs. She proceeded to share an audio clip of a man saying vulgar and racist things about her. “Every time I speak out on human rights I am inundated with death threats. Here is one we just got…this is incited directly by articles like this and far right politicians like this. And it is enabled by a political culture — in both parties — that allows and often fuels Islamophobia,” she tweeted.

Coming to her defense were several people, including Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the only other Muslim woman to be elected into Congress and part of “The Squad” with Omar.

“Freedom of speech doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress,” she tweeted. “The benefit of the doubt doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress. Their obsession with policing her is sick.”

Betty McCollum, Dean of the Minnesota Delegation and fellow Democrat responded to the issue surrounding Omar’s statement and said, “Rep. Omar asked a serious question which is her right as a member of Congress, but the hypocrites at the NRCC, including Chairman Tom Emmer, should be reminded of their silence when the Trump administration sat down with the Taliban to negotiate a diplomatic agreement without the Afghan government while American service members and Afghan civilians were being attacked and killed.”

On the other hand, Republican Representative Mo Brooks, an ally of former President Donald Trump, said in a radio interview that Omar’s question was a result of the “growing influence of the Islamic religion in the Democratic Party.”

He moved on to say, “Keep in mind that Muslims – more so than most people – have great animosity towards Israel and the Jewish faith.”

With no one coming to her defense, Omar once again also condemned Brooks’ comment. “When will our caucus forcefully stand up against hate towards their Muslim colleagues and constituents?”

It seems as though it might be a while before fellow party members will be willing to stand by and listen to their Muslim colleagues.

Asiya is a writer and journalist based in Brisbane, Australia.