Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, one of the first Muslim woman elected to Congress, has been attacked maliciously by President Donald Trump for comments she made that were taken out of context – she has now received an influx of death threats since President Trump posted a video signaling that Omar was dismissive of the 2001 deadly terrorist attacks.
President Trump is not only endangering Omar’s life directly by making false claims, he is also contributing to Islamophobia – the fear, hatred or prejudice toward Islam and Muslims.
According to the Pew Research Center, the number of assaults against Muslims in the United States rose significantly between 2015 and 2016, easily surpassing the modern peak reached in 2001.
The study also found that half of U.S. Muslim adults say that in recent years it has become more difficult to be a Muslim in the U.S., with 10% of this group attributing this to discrimination, racism and prejudice.
The video was removed as a ‘pinned tweet,’ which is a fixed first tweet people would see on President Trump’s Twitter timeline, but it still remains posted on his account, fueling and encouraging others to attack Omar for her religion.
Omar’s comments that President Trump labeled as downplaying the 9/11 attacks was in regards to a comment she made at a Los Angeles gathering of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on March 23.
“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,” Omar said. “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.”
Though CAIR was founded in 1994, it experienced a spike in membership immediately after 9/11.
The video showed Omar saying “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something,” conspicuously leaving out Omar’s comments about American Islamophobia and degradation of civil liberties.
The snippet of her saying “some people did something” repeated throughout the video, sandwiched between clips of the Twin Towers burning and collapsing.
Alongside the video, Trump tweeted “NEVER FORGET.”
The amount of hate Omar is receiving is absurd, and it is a direct result of her identity as a Somali-American Muslim and people’s fear that she is inadequate, or not American enough, to serve as a member of Congress.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claimed that Omar was dismissive of the attacks. The New York Post put on its front cover her out-of-context comments alongside an image of the burning towers and the headline “Here’s Your Something.”
Meanwhile, Omar received minimal support from the Democratic Party; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s delayed words of support for Omar and demands for President Trump to delete the video only came after people questioned her for not supporting Omar.
Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren spoke out immediately in defense of Omar calling for President Trump to stop “disgusting and dangerous attacks” against her.
As a country that stands by the First Amendment which calls for freedom of religion and freedom of speech, we must not spread hate based on someone’s religion and assume they are acting and speaking on behalf of bad terms.
This only creates a more dangerous and hateful environment.