Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar is facing a new round of attacks over comments she made about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and Muslim civil liberties.
Omar spoke at an event hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Los Angeles last month and said that after 9/11, some Muslims began to lose civil liberties.
"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," said Omar, one of only two Muslim women ever elected to Congress.
Some of Omar’s opponents have latched onto the phrasing “some people did something” as evidence that the freshman congresswoman is trivializing the terrorist attack. Her comments were also inaccurate: CAIR was founded in 1994, though it did expand civil rights advocacy efforts after 9/11.
The New York Post published a front page Thursday morning that used imagery from the 9/11 attacks to criticize Omar’s remarks.
A day earlier, Fox News host Brian Kilmeade pondered if Omar was an American. “You have to wonder if she’s American first,” Kilmeade said. (Like the New York Post, Fox News is also owned by Rupert Murdoch.)
Even a sitting member of Congress — Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Texas Republican — joined the pile-on by calling Omar’s comments “unbelievable.”
Additionally, Donald Trump Jr. called Omar a disgrace and retweeted a racist, Islamophobic conspiracy theory that linked the congresswoman to terrorism. Laura Loomer, a far-right media figure who's been banned from Twitter, used Instagram to accuse Omar of treason and asked her fans to “rise up” against the congresswoman.
Omar has yet to respond to the Post’s cover, but she tweeted Wednesday that her critics’ comments were dangerous.
“This is a dangerous incitement, given the death threats I face. I hope leaders of both parties will join me in condemning it,” Omar tweeted. “My love and commitment to our country and that of my colleagues should never be in question. We are ALL Americans!”
Omar also appeared on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" Thursday night and defended herself saying she's “as American as anyone else is.”
Omar has become a prominent target for the GOP — and even some Democrats — due largely to her outspoken criticism of Israel’s government. She has faced numerous threats since taking office in January. Last week, the FBI arrested a self-proclaimed Donald Trump fan who called Omar’s office and threatened to shoot the congresswoman in the head.
Separately, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday that she, too, has received a steady stream of death threats due to the GOP’s rhetoric about her and said that multiple people have been arrested for threatening her and Omar.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a Democrat from Massachusetts, also tweeted in Omar’s defense and said that Omar’s critics were defaming the congresswoman.
“Stop with this reckless #FAKEnews stoking hate, fear & division, putting REAL lives at risk,” Pressley tweeted Thursday morning. “Shame on you!”
Cover image: Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., sits with fellow Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee during a bill markup, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)