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Attacks on Ilhan Omar: Which ‘Facts’ Do They Speak to?

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Where do the attacks on Ilhan Omar come from? (Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images)
Where do the attacks on Ilhan Omar come from? (Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Attacks on Ilhan Omar are labeled misogynistic, Islamophobic and racist? Clarion editor Meira Svirksy breaks up this argument:

It is not unusual these days for Americans who are still committed to letting facts speak for themselves to feel like they are living in a parallel universe.

In their reality, past actions, comments and provable statistics matter. In the parallel universe, everything can be blamed on racism, misogyny and Islamophobia.

Take the case of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. In a particularly disingenuous article, Emily Steward writing in Vox, says,

“Want to know how awful racism can still be in America? Look no further than the vitriol directed at Ilhan Omar …

“While many progressives and proponents of diversity celebrated Omar’s victory, it has also brought to the surface a dark underbelly of American culture. A Muslim, a black woman, and a refugee, she faces Islamophobia, racism, misogyny, and anti-immigration strains in American culture, and putting that confluence of hate under the microscope is truly disturbing.

Let’s for a minute put those claims under a microscope and imagine that someone, say, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali was elected to Congress. Would she have been subjected to the same?

Ali, who is also a refugee from Somalia, is also black and a woman. However, unlike Omar, she is an outspoken critic of radical Islam and sharia governance, works tirelessly against female genital mutilation and is against the anti-Semitic BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) movement against Israel.

In contrast, Omar aligns herself and fundraises for Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamist organizations like CAIR (whose goal is global sharia governance), described 9/11 as “some people did something, laughed at Americans who have a visceral reaction to the mention of al-Qaeda, subjected a fellow Muslim who asked her to use her position to speak out against FGM to a humiliating dressing down and called for the protection of a Somali company with clear and known terror connections.

Omar also supports the anti-Semitic BDS movement and spews vile anti-Semitic tropes from the halls of Congress – a shocking display that has not been seen since 1924, when Congress passed the Johnson–Reed Act which effectively restricted immigration of Jews from war-torn Eastern Europe.

As to Omar’s blatant outbursts of anti-Semitism, with a wink Steward underplays them as remarks that have “at times raised eyebrows … [as] critics say they sometimes have anti-Semitic airs” before dismissing them altogether since “she [Omar] has apologized.”

(Omar seems to have a powerful “Get Out of Jail Free Card” from the progressives considering how many times she has slurred Jews and then apologized for doing so.)

 

Is America Racist?

It is quite telling to look at the FBI’s hate crime reports from the beginning of Barack Obama’s tenure as president until now. Although this is not proof of America’s attitudes towards race, the numbers are quite interesting.

In 2008, the year Obama, the first black president of the U.S. was elected, crimes against blacks accounted for 72.6 percent of all race-based hate crimes. By the end of Obama’s presidency in 2016, that percentage had decreased to 50.2 percent.

It has continued to decrease each year of Trump’s presidency, dropping to 46.9 percent in 2018 (the most recent data available).

 

Is America Islamophobic?

Again, looking anecdotally at the FBI’s hate crime statistics, we see that when Obama left office, anti-Muslim hate crimes accounted for almost 25 percent of all religious-based hate crimes. Two years into Trump’s presidency, that number dropped to 14.5 percent in 2018. (Of note is that anti-Semitic hate crimes account for almost 60 percent of all religious-based hate crimes every year.)

 

Is America Misogynistic?

Since the end of the ‘70’s, the number of women has surpassed the number of men who are enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities. Adjusting for career choices made by men and women (college major, occupation, working hours and parental leave), multiple studies have found that women earn about 94 cents to every dollar earned by their male counterparts (with the pay gap between younger women and younger men the least significant).

Hillary Clinton, a less-than-desirable presidential nominee (when factoring in her numerous political scandals) still managed to win the popular vote in the 2016 election by over two percentage points.

Still Vox would have us believe, as another one of their writers, Nisha Chittal, argued, according to Steward,

“Omar (and her fellow first-term members of color in Congress) have been subjected to a more intense backlash for their comments, controversial or not. And that backlash is predominantly about ‘silencing outspoken women of color.’”

So, you decide in which universe to dwell: Are the attacks on Ilhan Omar a function of racism, Islamophobia and misogyny? Or are they based on her political opinions?

 

RELATED STORIES

Hey, Ilhan Omar: Who Do You Represent? 

Ilhan Omar Lets Rip Another Outburst of Anti-Semitism

Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Decrease in 2018

 

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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