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As Ilhan Omar Endures Anti-Muslim Racism, Most Lawmakers in Congress Remain Silent
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=47664"><span class="small">Elham Khatami, ThinkProgress</span></a>   
Sunday, 03 March 2019 14:50

Khatami writes: "The West Virginia statehouse on Friday allowed an Islamophobic organization to display an anti-Muslim poster targeting Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress."

Ilhan Omar, the first Somali American woman to be elected to public office in the United States. (photo: Photo by Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons)
Ilhan Omar, the first Somali American woman to be elected to public office in the United States. (photo: Photo by Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons)

As Ilhan Omar Endures Anti-Muslim Racism, Most Lawmakers in Congress Remain Silent

By Elham Khatami, ThinkProgress

03 March 19

An Islamophobic display at the West Virginia statehouse Friday has drawn little outrage from her fellow House members.

he West Virginia statehouse on Friday allowed an Islamophobic organization to display an anti-Muslim poster targeting Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.

WV Act for America — designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Muslim hate group — placed the poster outside the chamber to commemorate the state’s GOP day.

The poster depicted an image of Omar beneath an image of the burning World Trade Center towers with the words, “‘Never Forget’” — You said.. I am proof that you have forgotten.” Act for America also distributed anti-Muslim articles and pamphlets, including one entitled, “Readin’, Writin’, and Jihadin’ The Islamization of America Public Schools.”

The anti-Muslim display was the second Omar has faced in one day. On Friday, the congresswoman tweeted an image of graffiti at a gas station in her home state which said, “Assassinate Ilhan Omar.”

“No wonder why I am on the ‘Hitlist’ of a domestic terrorist and ‘Assassinate Ilhan Omar’ is written on my local gas station,” Omar wrote on Twitter Friday.

But Omar largely dealt with the racism on her own. Few lawmakers spoke out against the the West Virginia GOP for allowing the poster to be displayed. On Saturday evening, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) noted the members of Congress who criticized Omar weeks ago over her unintentional use of an anti-Semitic trope in a tweet about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) should defend her against the racism she faces on an almost daily basis.

“I’m pretty heartbroken that there isn’t more denunciation of this outward and blatant expression of bigotry and Islamophobia by a state party,” she said. “[In my opinion] those who stood up against anti-Semitism a few weeks ago should also be calling out the Islamophobia here, too.”

Indeed, at the time of publication, neither Democratic leaders in the House and Senate — Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — had publicly condemned the actions of the West Virginia GOP.

Across the aisle, Republicans who slammed Omar for employing an anti-Semitic trope, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), remained silent about the racism she has been facing over the weekend.

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+8 # chapdrum 2019-03-03 17:34
In the similar way that "most lawmakers remain silent" about Trump remaining in office.
+3 # DongiC 2019-03-04 00:58
Sure Rep. Omar should be pis**d, sure she should expect help from fellow lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, sure she should be defended by Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer, sure the state GOP in WV should apologize but come on folks, this is America 2019, where racism and anti brown and black sentiments are still strong. Gosh, these feelings have found a comfortable home in Trump's base where they increase and multiply and scare the hell out of just about everybody. Hence, the politicians' caution. For showing Omar support, there could be political retaliation. Things are in kind of disarray here, in the good, old USA.
0 # economagic 2019-03-04 06:52
Since more than 90 percent of the 535 members of Congress are "conservative" (in the modern media sense, having nothing to do with conserving anything except their own wealth and influence in the current status quo), it is not surprising that few of them are willing to admit that Islam is anything but another terrorist organization. What is surprising is that more of them are not publicly condemning Ms. Omar on a daily basis. I'm pretty sure that she understands this, as most members of oppressed groups understand what their oppressors are unable to acknowledge.
+6 # SusanT136 2019-03-04 07:48
Of course the Republicans are quiet. They want white people hating the brown people.

But it’s shameful that the Democrats are such wimps, especially party leaders. Not doing the right thing is never ok, and this is such an aggregious violation all of Congress should be defending her.
0 # hectormaria 2019-03-04 09:43
Freedom of Religion has been the constitutional right most responsible for keeping the U.S. from falling into total anarchy, kept potential fanatical despots in check. Now...
+4 # Anne Frank 2019-03-04 12:42
Compare the media and politicians' reaction to blaming Judaism for the crimes of Israel and blaming Islam for the crimes of ISIS. Follow the money.
0 # Colleen Clark 2019-03-04 17:51
One of the odd features of the use of the word "anti-semitism" to refer to negative remarks about Jews is that Arabs too are semites.
Here's the definition of "Semite" from the "American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language."

"Semite, n. 1. A member of any of the peoples speaking a Semitic language including the Arabs, Arameans, Babylonians, Carthaginians, Hebrews, and many of the peoples of Ethiopia."

The wrong assumption that the word "Semite" refers only to practitioners of Judaism is surely a result of its use in Europe to refer only to Jews. The other Semites have had very little presence in Europe over the centuries.

In any case, calling Ilhan Omar an "anti-Semite" is literally wrong. To criticize the policies of any government is NEVER to accuse all the citizens of a given country for being responsible for the policies of the government.

Are all we American citizens "anti-Christian "or "anti-German" because we take serious objection to the policies of Donald Trump, who is an American of German descent and surely, at least nominally, a Christian?

We should watch our own language and use our brains.
0 # Colleen Clark 2019-03-04 18:26
To Ilhan Omar
I'm sorry that so many of my fellow citizens are criticizing you.

I am a nominal Christian, but so what?

I was a Peace Corps Volunteer early in my life. From 1964-66 I was a teacher in Adiyaman, Turkey. It was a life forming experience for me. I met wonderful people and was introduced to a new culture and way of life.

There millions of your fellow Americans who think the way I do. We try to be open-minded and generous and try to learn new things every day. Keep your brave and resilient spirit.
Colleen Clark, Cambridge, MA (Ayanna Pressley is my new member of Congress. She's a stalwart soul also.)