The attacks on Ilhan Omar reveal America’s hostile environment against Muslims

Omar accuses Trump of fuelling hate after he tweeted an edited video that suggested congresswoman trivialized the 9/11 attacks.

By Sohaila Barghash

Ilhan Omar says she received more death threats after Trump’s tweet, with especially Trump supporters insinuating that she is neither fit for Congress nor is she a loyal citizen of the United States.

The released video shows Omar describing the 9/11 attacks as “some people did something”, which triggered anger, providing the right-wing media with an opportunity to accuse her of belittling the largest foreign attack on America.

Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to the United States Congress, and a proud-scarf-wearing-Black-Muslim-refugee-from-Somalia, has raised issues nobody wants to discuss, and the right wing has continued to attack her and distort her words at any given opportunity.

Politicians, activists and celebrities have publicly supported US congresswoman Ilhan Omar after the tweet, with some calling Trump’s move Islamophobic and an “incitement” to violence against Omar, which put her “life in danger”.

The video Trump retweeted pulls a snippet of Omar’s speech, which was delivered in March at an event organised by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), where she tried to explain that the level of prejudice Muslims encounter after 9/11 lead to the need for a robust Muslim civil society.

Upon which she said, “because they recognised that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”

Adding, “For far too long we 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.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she has taken the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the Minnesota Democrat, as she urged Trump to take the video down.

Bernie Sanders, Democratic presidential candidate, referred to Trump’s tweet as “disgusting and dangerous”.

Omar may be perceived as an outsider because she challenges the political mainstream in America, moreover, her supporters argue that many want her gone because she upsets a faction that is essentially upper class, white, Christian, instrumentally liberal but ultimately conservative and warmongering.

The reaction to Omar’s speech proves exactly what she was advocating for, because even though Trump’s attacks on her may be an attempt to win more right-wing conservative voters in the 2020 elections, the manner in which Omar has been treated invokes a larger and deep seated story of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim racism that has been a constitutive feature of America.

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