Center for American Greatness

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Ilhan Omar?


- March 6th, 2019
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Nothing in the Constitution requires that members of Congress either be born in the United States or have at least one American parent. We’ve got plenty of foreign-born politicians, and always have; in the U.S. Senate alone, right now, Ted Cruz was born in Canada, Mazie Hirono is from Japan, and Tammy Duckworth was born in Thailand to a Thai mother and American father. The House includes Cubans, Mexicans, Indians, and Dominicans. We’ve had refugees as well, including the late Tom Lantos, a Holocaust survivor.

The first in a three part series on the new freshman members of Congress.

But now we have Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslims in Congress, born in Mogadishu, Somalia, brought here as a child, and now representing Minnesota’s  5th Congressional District as a result of the 2018 midterm elections. Along with her Islamic compatriot, Rashida Tlaib (representing Detroit and Dearbornistan), and the ineffable Alexandria  Ocasio-Cortez (the Bronx by way of Yorktown Heights in Westchester County and Boston), the trio of female radicals has jerked the geriatric-led Democrat Party abruptly far-leftward as we approach the 2020 presidential election, tossing previous political calculations into a cocked hat.

But in Omar’s case, that’s far from the worst of it. Conservatives are accustomed to leftists hiding their true motives and feelings as they attempt to claw their way to political control over all of us, but Omar is different in that she makes no attempt to disguise her true feelings, either about America or the Jews. Anti-Western to her core, she rewards the generosity of the Americans toward the Somali Muslim community by spitting  in our faces.

As I wrote recently at PJ Media, there’s something about the Somalis that makes them different from other cultural aliens who have arrived in—or, in the Somalis’ case, been deliberately imported to—the United States. An ethnic group low on its share of geniuses but long on violence, the Minnesota Somalis have the disgraceful distinction of sending more men and boys to join foreign terrorist organizations such as al-Shabab and ISIS over the past dozen years than any other place in the country. And this, of course, is Omar’s district—why would we have any doubt that she will represent it faithfully?

Recently one of the first Somali policemen in Minnesota, Mohamed Mohamed Noor—with a name like that, what could go wrong?—was charged with murder in the 2017 shooting death of Justine Damond; he goes on trial next month, having pleaded not guilty. (Be sure to read the details of the killing at any of the links.) And now, open gang—perhaps “militia” will soon be a better word—warfare is breaking out in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis as the Somalis (known colloquially in the military and intelligence services as “skinnies”) recreate the same hellish conditions they fled in their East African homeland:

As for Omar, she spoke up for a group of six Somalis arrested in 2015 for trying to cross into Mexico, as part of a plan to join ISIS in Syria. As the case went to trial the following year, the then-state representative wrote a letter to the trial judge requesting “compassion”—and lighter sentencing on behalf of one of the Minnesota men, who was facing 30 years jail time.

“Such punitive measures not only lack efficacy, they inevitably create an environment in which extremism can flourish, aligning with the presupposition of terrorist recruitment,” Omar wrote. “The best deterrent to fanaticism is a system of compassion. We must alter our attitude and approach; if we truly want to affect change, we should refocus our efforts on inclusion and rehabilitation.”

And how did that plea for mercy work out? One young lad was sentenced to “rehabilitation” after being caught trying to join ISIS; six months later, at a halfway house, he was found watching a documentary about westerners fighting for ISIS. What’s bred in the bone . . .

But coddling terrorists is the least of Omar’s problems. For one thing, there’s some reason to suspect that Omar married her own brother in order to get him American citizenship—something she denies, although her marital history is, shall we say, culturally colorful. (There’s a good, if confusing, summation of it at Snopes.com, which rates the issue “unproven,” and you can find a video on the subject here.) It’s hard to fathom why she might do such a thing, since even the most dedicated open-borders activist might blanch at outright fraud; further it makes little sense for a lawbreaker to then raise her profile and run for Congress—although, in succeeding Keith Ellison, now Minnesota’s attorney general, she was bound to get elected no matter what.

For her part, Omar issued a statement during her campaign, which basically elided the issue and naturally framed herself as the real victim: “I will offer clarity and share a difficult part of my personal history that I did not consider relevant in the context of a political campaign, so that we can put these rumors to rest. Insinuations that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi is my brother are absurd and offensive.”

Most troubling of all is her consistent anti-Semitism, relayed to the public via a series of tweets, some of which she later deleted. Incredibly, Omar sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and thus far Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has refused to remove her, despite requests from prominent Jewish organizations. Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said that defenestrating her “will not solve the problem of anti-Semitism” and would merely be “retribution.” Still Pelosi had planned a vote on a House resolution condemning anti-Semitism on Wednesday, but the vote was abruptly postponed after “progressives” objected to it.

And so the stage is set for a major battle. Pelosi cannot afford to alienate the Democrats’ sizable Jewish constituency, but neither can she blow off the freshmen radicals, who are pushing BDS and outright socialism:

House Democratic leaders are struggling to contain the controversy over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments criticizing Israel, with the caucus fighting behind closed doors over whether—and how—to respond. Tensions ran high at a caucus meeting Wednesday as some Democrats privately vented that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team had failed to adequately respond to the escalating political crisis, with too little outreach to their own rank-and-file.

[There is] widespread anxiety in the caucus over how to handle the latest bout of remarks from Omar—one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress—after she suggested that pro-Israel advocates had “allegiance” to Israel. The remarks offended multiple top Democrats, who said it was assuming painful, decades-old stereotypes that Jews had “dual loyalties.”

Multiple Jewish lawmakers, including Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) stood up in the caucus meeting to explain why Omar’s latest remarks were so offensive and potentially dangerous. But other Democrats—including a Jewish lawmaker—stood up to defend their colleague and say they didn’t see the remarks as deeply offensive.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus had spoken out loudly against a measure aimed at Omar’s comments at a time when Omar herself has been the target of anti-Muslim attacks . . .  Omar did not speak in the meeting, multiple sources said, although she was spotted chatting with some Democrats one-on-one and received hugs from others.

Isn’t that sweet? The Democrats and their “progressive” media allies are so obsessed with the “historic” nature of Omar’s membership in the American congress that they can’t see the danger she poses. By background, religion, and upbringing she is a dedicated enemy of the United States, the camel’s nose under the tent of what the Left likes to call “our democracy.” As such, she’s a useful tool, protected by her faith and her ethnic origins; any criticism of her immediately triggers accusations of racism and “hate.” Indeed, the resolution against anti-Semitism is now being rewritten to include denunciations of other forms of “hate speech.”

It’s a nasty nettle to grasp, although it’s impossible not to enjoy Pelosi’s discomfiture. In order to hang on to her gavel—because you just know the Republicans are going to “pounce” on this—Pelosi has to reduce the public profiles of the radicals lest the rest of America catch on to what they’re up to. Once San Fran Nan was the public face of the Democrats; now, among others, it’s Ilhan Omar, wearing a hijab.

Upon her arrival in Congress, Omar demanded—and got—a change in a 181-year House rule forbidding head coverings on the House floor. If you think that’s the last change she wants to make, you’d better think again. Pelosi should strip her of her committee assignments and, if she continues these antics, the House should expel her. It’s the right thing to do.

Photo Credit: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Image

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