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Pelosi seeks to quell uproar over Omar’s latest comments


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Ilhan Omar’s Tired ‘Islamophobia’ Act


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Rep Ilhan Omar’s Constituents on Trump’s Go Home Taunt: We’ve Heard it Before

Rep Ilhan Omar’s Constituents on Trump’s Go Home Taunt: We’ve Heard it BeforeTom Williams/GettyMINNEAPOLIS—They’ve been told to go home in grocery stores. On the way to pick up lunch at McDonald’s. On a highway overpass and in school playgrounds. Even while wearing the uniform of the U.S. military. For many residents of Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, President Donald Trump’s repeated attacks on four minority Democratic members of Congress—which culminated in him telling them to go back to where they came from and goading supporters into echoing that call—amounted to much more than the latest race-centered controversy sparked by the White House. Much more, too, than an attack on their very own representative in Washington, Ilhan Omar, a first-year Democratic lawmaker.In lobbing that racist taunt at Omar, Trump also directed it at many of her constituents—because many of them have heard it themselves countless times.Saciido Shaie, a 36-year-old community advocate who left Somalia as a child, recalls going places with her three children—all born in the U.S.—only to be met by strangers telling them to “go back to where you came from” or scoffing, “I hate your kind.”“His attack on Ilhan, on immigrants, is actually attacking me and my kids,” she told The Daily Beast in an interview. “Ilhan will not go back. I wouldn’t go back. Where do I go? I don’t know anything about Somalia. I don’t know where my home would be.”“When I see or hear people asking me to go back home, like—I am home.”This district, which includes the city of Minneapolis and some surrounding suburbs, is home to one of the biggest and most vibrant Muslim and East African disapora communities in the country. Most came from Somalia and Ethiopia during violent civil wars in those countries in the 1980s and 1990s. Now, many are naturalized U.S. citizens raising Minnesota-born children.How the Ilhan Omar Marriage Smear Went From Fever Swamp to TrumpThe 37-year old Omar, who fled Somalia at age 14 and settled in Minnesota with her family, is not only the district’s duly elected representative in Congress but a powerful symbol of the experience of East Africans, particularly Muslim ones, in America. Her rapid ascent to political prominence, her seat in the U.S. House, and her far-reaching public profile are to many emblematic of their assimilation into the political and social fabric of the United States.Of course, this community is hardly a monolith: sit for the near-constant political gab sessions in the coffee shops and community centers in East African neighborhoods and it’s clear not everyone agrees with Omar on the issues. Some wish she would tone down her fiery style, which seems to constantly generate controversy. Some deeply hate Trump, while others are ambivalent about him, and others still admit they know someone who thought about voting for him. But in questioning Omar’s fundamental Americanness, people here say, Trump questioned theirs—increasing their fear that the president is emboldening expressions of racism that have always threatened immigrants and people of color in America. Some say that two years of the Trump presidency has already fomented an increase in racial strife that they can feel. ‘Tell Them to Leave’: Trump Sics Rally Crowd on ‘The Squad’“It’s an attack on all of us,” said Ahmed Yusuf, an author born in Somalia who has been in Minnesota for two decades. He revealed a dark worry that was raised by several community members in conversations with The Daily Beast in Minneapolis on Friday: that the president’s attacks on Omar—which included a “send her back!” crowd chant at a Trump rally in North Carolina on Wednesday—might lead to violence against Omar and others who look and pray like her. “An idiot who takes it as a call to arms and harms someone,” said Yusuf.While Trump has in the last week targeted four first-year lawmakers of color with racist language, Omar—the only one not born in the U.S. and the only one who wears a hijab—has borne the brunt of it. At several public appearances, the president has gone after her criticism of the state of Israel, which has sometimes featured anti-Semitic tropes that have offended many Jews, as proof she virulently hates not only Israel but the Jewish people. Trump also continues to falsely declare that she is an al Qaeda sympathizer. His repeated attacks on Omar have perhaps also given him the opportunity to return to one of his favorite targets from even before he became president, when he referred to refugees in Minnesota as a “problem” and scheduled a rally in Minneapolis days before the 2016 election to lament that the state had “suffered enough” because of them.Trump’s sustained, weeklong Omar diatribe has consumed the community in the past week, said Shaie, who is known locally for her work running a program for Somali youth called the Ummah Project. She is also active in Democratic politics; In 2018, she canvassed for Omar. “This is all we talk about,” she said. “It’s become exhausting to the point where you don't even care anymore.” Sometimes, people gather around TVs and try to find the comedy in Trump’s repeated jeers. Other times, it’s more somber. “I hear my own kids asking me,” she said, “why Donald Trump doesn't like us?”On Friday afternoon, CNN’s coverage of a fresh Trump attack on Omar blared on a TV in a coffee and tea stall in Karmel Mall, a shopping center where Somalis gather to eat, talk, and drink hot tea. Young men, fresh from Friday prayer services, were fixed on a different TV showing a soccer match between Algeria and Senegal. But Mahad Farhan, a 33-year-old truck driver from Minneapolis, was watching Trump. “I’ve never listened to any president more than him,” he said. “I want to understand how he carries himself.”Farhan left Somalia when he was young and grew up in Owatonna, a small town in the cornfields of southern Minnesota. He’s experienced racism, at times violently. He told of an incident when his big rig was stopped by another car on a highway somewhere in Indiana, when the other driver, who was white, got out with a gun, hurling racist epithets and telling him to go home. But Farhan calls Minnesota home and believes most people here are good, welcoming people. He is flummoxed by Trump, but has come to believe he is issuing racist attacks as part of his re-election strategy. “I don’t know if he’s racist,” he said. “I don’t talk to the guy, but it might be a question when the whole world thinks you’re racist.”To Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Trump’s broadsides are “the manifestation of Islamophobia.” This week, he told The Daily Beast, he and fellow CAIR activists were shouted at to “go home” while hanging a “Stand with Ilhan” banner on a highway overpass in the city. “I personally also believe the rise of troll-ism, the rise of anonymity in racism, these are real people who are using anonymity to go after other people,” he said. “We've had that historically, yeah, but we are at a high level. So with all of that happening, it's just something that Trump sees every single day, the more he pokes it, the more he turns away from the real issue.”Some here have dealt with the controversy by focusing on the acts of kindness and generosity extended in these tense times. Abdirizak Bihi, a Somali community leader in Minneapolis who arrived in the city in 1996, said in the past week all kinds of people have reached out to express solidarity and ask what they might offer to help. A diverse crew of Omar supporters and constituents showed up to greet the congresswoman at the airport when she returned from D.C. on Thursday. “We find more support from the community than actual problems,” said Bihi, sitting in a Starbucks in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood that is the heart of the city’s East African population. “We have great neighbors in Minnesota.”Bihi, like many Somali and Muslim leaders here, has known Omar long before her days as an international political figure, which began in earnest when she upset a longtime Democratic state lawmaker in 2016 to become the first female Somali-American member of a legislature in the country. “I’ve known her for a long time. She’s a very strong lady,” he said. “She’s getting more support than ever before.”Bihi believes that Omar, and the community she has come to symbolize, will not only endure Trump’s attacks but become better because of them. “These types of incidents create fear, but for the East African culture, it creates a springboard to rebound,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of challenges: fleeing war, raising families, so many challenges.”Indeed, many immigrants are old enough to remember the civil wars that devastated Somalia. Shaie is one of them, and while it gives her and others perspective on the current drama gripping their community, those memories make them wonder what their own children will carry with them from this moment in America.“They love America, never questioned their existence in this country, now they’re getting more traumatized,” she said. “All they know is Minnesota. Because they were born in Minnesota… Regardless of what happened, we’re not going anywhere. If you don’t like us, that’s up to you.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Pelosi: Omar’s Comments Not ‘Intentionally Anti-Semitic’

Pelosi: Omar’s Comments Not ‘Intentionally Anti-Semitic’House speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday asserted that Representative Ilhan Omar's (D., Minn.) recent claim that her pro-Israel colleagues are motivated by a “dual loyalty” to the U.S. and Israel was not “intentionally anti-Semitic.”Pelosi's comment, which was reported by Politico, came hours after House Democrats sparred in a closed-door meeting over a resolution condemning religious bigotry intended at least partially in response to Omar's comments. A number of Omar's fellow progressives lashed out at Pelosi and suggested their older colleagues were making a politically costly mistake by rebuking Omar.“We’ve individually and collectively already responded to the fact that we oppose all ‘-isms’ that do not treat people in this country fairly and justly,” Representative Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D., N.J.) said during the meeting, according to the Washington Post. “To continue to engage in this discussion is simply an opportunity to give both the media and Republicans distractions from our agenda. We’ve got important work to do.”Pelosi told Politico that she is not sure whether the resolution, which was amended earlier this week to include a provision condemning anti-Muslim bigotry in addition to anti-Semitism, will receive a vote this week.Omar, who has previously been accused of anti-Semitism by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for attributing U.S. support for Israel to the “Benjamins,” once again enflamed tensions last week by suggesting that accusations of anti-Semitism, including from her “Jewish colleagues,” are intended to chill debate over the alliance.“What I’m fearful of — because [Representative] Rashida [Tlaib] and I are Muslim — that a lot of our Jewish colleagues, a lot of our constituents, a lot of our allies, go to thinking that everything we say about Israel to be anti-Semitic because we are Muslim,” said Omar, speaking at a progressive town-hall event in Washington, D.C. alongside Representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.).“So for me, I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” she later added.The comments were unanimously condemned by Democratic and Republican leadership and earned Omar the scorn of House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Elliot Engel, who called them “outrageous and deeply hurtful.” Engel has thus far resisted Republicans' calls for Omar to lose her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.



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Farrakhan Praises Omar’s Anti-Semitic Remarks: ‘Shake Up That Corrupt House’

Farrakhan Praises Omar’s Anti-Semitic Remarks: ‘Shake Up That Corrupt House’Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan on Sunday praised Representative Ilhan Omar's (D., Minn.) recent endorsement of an anti-Semitic trope and urged the freshman lawmaker not to bow to pressure from critics.“Ms. Omar from Somalia – she started talking about ‘the Benjamins' and they are trying to make her apologize. Sweetheart, don't do that. Pardon me for calling you sweetheart, but you do have a sweet heart. You sure are using it to shake the government up, but you have nothing to apologize for,” Farrakhan said during his annual Saviour's Day address in Chicago, in comments first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.“Israel and AIPAC pays off senators and congressmen to do their bidding, so you're not lying. So if you're not lying, stop laying down. You were sent there by the people to shake up that corrupt House,” he added.Farrakhan, who has long engaged in anti-Semitic conspiracy-mongering, went on to mock Omar's Democratic allies, who have defended her remarks as the result of inexperience and lack of knowledge regarding the historic plight of the Jewish people.“‘Oh she's just young. She just got here. Don't be so hard on her,’” he said, mocking Omar's defenders. “My beautiful sisters, you were sent there to shake that House up. Your people voted you in, but God is the overseer.”Omar argued in a series of tweets sent last week that the pro-Israel stance held by many of her colleagues can be attributed to the nefarious influence of jewish donors and organizations, such as the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She subsequently apologized after being publicly urged to do so by Democratic leadership.Since being elected in November, Omar has been confronted with allegations of anti-Semitism by critics who cite both her past tweets, one of which accused Israel of "hypnotizing the world," and her more-recent statements and associations with noted anti-Semitic pro-Palestinian activists.Farrakhan has managed to maintain ties with a number of prominent Democratic lawmakers and activists despite his extensive record of bigotry. Women's March co-chair Tamikah Mallory was roundly criticized for praising Farrakhan as the "GOAT” or “greatest of all time" on social media following his 2018 Saviour's Day address, during which he labeled Jews “satanic.”“I didn’t call him the greatest of all time because of his rhetoric. I called him the greatest of all time because of what he’s done in black communities,” Mallory said during an appearance on ABC's The View last month when asked about the Instagram post.



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