Why CAIR Is Fundraising for MN Candidate Ilhan Omar

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Ilhan Omar gives her acceptance speech after being elected as a state representative in Minnesota in 2016. Omar, a refugee from Somalia, is the first Somali-American Muslim woman to hold public office. (Photo: STEPHEN MATUREN/Getty Images)

The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) California Political Action Committee (PAC)  revved its fundraising machine for Ilhan Omar, who is running for Congress in Minnesota.

CAIR held three fundraising events in California for the candidate. CAIR is a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity that was designated as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates. FBI wiretaps in 1993 revealed CAIR was established to deceptively push the Islamist agenda in America.  

You can read more about CAIR’s background here.

Omar is vying for controversial Congressman Keith Ellison’s seat in the House of Representatives as he moves toward his aspiration to become the state’s attorney general.

Omar was elected to Minnesota’s House of Representatives in 2016, becoming the first Somali-American elected to office. During her time in government, she advanced anti-Israel hatred, including voting against a Minnesota House bill to stop financially punishing Israel. Commenting on her vote at the time, Omar said, “I would have loved to vote for a bill that expands our ideals of fighting against discrimination…I don’t want to be part of a vote that limits the ability of people to fight towards justice and peace.”

If Omar secures a win, she will likely intensify hate and opposition to Israel’s right to exist. 

Ironically, on August 5, Hussam Ayloush, CAIR’s Los Angeles Executive Director, shared on Facebook,

“Ilhan inspired the Southern California Muslim community with her story of becoming an advocate for justice and equality for all people. Help elect a principled and intelligent candidate, and the first Muslim Somali American Hijabi woman! (Breaking a lot of barriers)”

Back at home, in Omar’s limited political experience, she’s been hyper-focused on the needs of the Somali community. She claims to have netted funds for a Somali museum and “$5 million to help respond to a 2017 measles outbreak that largely affected the Somali community.”

Yet, her advocacy for the Somali community appears to lose momentum when it involves fighting against discrimination and gender violence against young Somali girls. In 2017, Omar rejected Muslim reform-driven efforts against gender discrimination and female genital mutilation (FGM)

Last year, FGM survivors and activists joined forces against the brutal practice as a trial in Michigan against a doctor accusing of cutting girls made headlines. The victims included two seven-year-old Somali girls who were mutilated through an underground “cutting” network.

The issue drew attention to the widespread and secretive practice of genital mutilation against young girls. Campaigns against FGM have often been led by outspoken Muslim activists, FGM survivors and community leaders. Yet attempts by a Muslim reformer and campaigning activist to contact Omar were intercepted by her assistant and requests to speak to her were firmly rejected.



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Shireen Qudosi

Shireen Qudosi is Clarion Project's National Correspondent.

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