News circulated yesterday accusing Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of being a Qatari asset.
The accusations were made by a Kuwaiti-born Canadian businessman in a deposition in connection with a trial in Florida of the Qatari emir’s brother for ordering the murder of two people and holding an American citizen hostage in Florida. The Saudi news outlet Al Arabiya obtained the deposition and reported that the contents were authenticated by the attorney for the plaintiffs.
During the deposition, businessman Alan Bender said he met with Qatar’s Secretary to the Emir for Security Affairs Mohammad bin Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Masnad and two other senior Qatari officials. According to Bender, these officials said to him, “If it wasn’t for our cash, Ilhan Omar would be just another black Somali refugee in America collecting welfare and serving tables on weekends.”
Bender also testified the Qatari officials asked him to recruit American politicians and journalists to be Qatari assets. After he objected, the officials told him that a number of important people were already on Qatar’s payroll. Ilhan Omar was described as the “jewel in the crown,” he said.
True or False?
The reason is simple: The evidence is flimsy, as it comes from the accusations of one man. David Steinberg, an editor and investigator with PJ Media who conducted a year-long investigation into Ilhan Omar, had this to say:
Many of you have contacted me about the @IlhanMN/Qatar connection alleged in a Florida court proceeding.
No source of mine has ever mentioned anything about this. I have seen nothing verifiable. I could not be more skeptical of the story’s veracity.
— David Steinberg (@realDSteinberg) November 25, 2019
Shireen Qudosi shares:
“Even Hadiths, which are the source of many controversial second-hand sayings that have given rise to problematic theological material do a better job of verifying and vetting sources than this ‘Ilhan Omar is a Qatari asset’ story. Yet, the story is spreading like wildfire and it’s deeply unethical for any journalistic outlet to be feeding the frenzy knowing full well the claim is unsubstantiated.
In working to source and verify this story today, I’m proud to see colleagues in the counter-Islamist circuit — all critical of Ilhan Omar for well-documented reasons — unanimously shut down attempts to fan this story.”
The sentiment was echoed by other critics, including foreign policy and national security reporter Jordan Schachtel:
Bad faith actors continue to spread false information about Ilhan Omar being run by Qatar. It is 100% nonsense. Both she and Qatar have committed many misdeeds. The Qatar-Omar thing is dumb and it hurts real investigative reporting on the two entities. https://t.co/W1VdC9LLbS
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) November 26, 2019
The unfounded accusation was also challenged by Dalia Al-Aqidi, who is poised to run against Ilhan Omar in 2020.
When it comes to serious allegations against @Ilhan or anyone else, we need to give our emotions a break. As much as I despise her views and agendas, I would would want solid evidence. This is different than her ties to @CAIRNational, @RTErdogan and the #MuslimBrotherhood
— Dalia al-Aqidi (@Dalia30) November 26, 2019
The fact that this story is now making rounds through a public deposition and documents creates an opportunity to investigate and question the events. Whether Ilhan Omar is a Qatari asset remains to be determined but based on the evidence so far there seems to be nothing more to this story at present, other than it is a rumor designed to antagonize and discredit the opposition. There are plenty of other valid reasons do discredit Ilhan Omar without reaching for straws and speculation.