Hey, Ilhan Omar: Who Do You Represent?

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Congresswoman Ilhan Omar at a pres conference with U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar at a pres conference with U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

There’s a question of who Congresswoman Ilhan Omar represents. Does she represent tokens of religious freedom like the hijab? Does she represent the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Islamist entitles in the United States? Or does she represent Minnesota’s 5th district and the constituents who elected her?

Most recently, Ilhan Omar tweeted yet another message of support for a young Muslim girl’s decision to wear a hijab. The story is pretty simple: The girl was required to submit a waiver for religious headwear during a race. She didn’t and was after the fact disqualified for not following the rules.

Of course, Ilhan Omar, turns it into another opportunity to peddle victimization narratives — but this time, not without pushback from another Black American Muslim woman: Rabi’a Keeble.

Rabi’a Keeble, founder of Qal’bu Maryam Women’s Mosque in San Francisco, California, has spoken with me before on how problematic Ilhan Omar’s representation of her district is.

In a podcast earlier this year, Keeble commented on Omar’s seeming disinterest in representing real human rights issue.

We discussed Omar bashing a prominent anti-FGM and human rights leader, Muslim activist Ani Zonneveld, when during an open Muslim forum Zonneveld questioned Omar’s lack of emphasis in using her platform to speak out against female genital mutilation (FGM).

The barbaric practice of genital mutilation is ripe within the Somali community and does impact the young constituents of her district. However, beyond a rushed last-minute signing of a state bill against it, Ilhan Omar has not gone to bat alongside anti-FGM activists as she has for young girls wearing the hijab.

On that the issue of corrupted values, there’s no longer a shortage of American Muslim women (including myself) willing to hold Ilhan Omar accountable for the broken value system she represents across a plethora of issues that impact us as Americans.

The impression we’re left with is that for Ilhan Omar, some girls matter while other girls don’t. Some girls are taking on some of the toughest fights (i.e. against FGM, al-Shabaab, etc.), while elected officials in positions of privilege, like Ilhan Omar have trouble prioritizing let alone discriminating between real life issues versus Islamist propaganda talking points that would have you believe American Muslims are oppressed.

Omar has also not had any trouble representing the Islamist supremacist organization CAIR, which is less of a civil rights organization and more in the business of legislating “how dare you’s,” which does nothing to bridge understanding between communities.

The jury is out on who Ilhan Omar represents — and with election season just months away, so are the votes.

Minnesotans will get to decide if Ilhan Omar is the best representative they have. With new evidence of her affair to her married political aide, Tim Mynett, it’s becoming more and more clear that the values Ilhan Omar bats for on Twitter might aren’t the values she espouses in her personal life.

After all, the crux of Islamic faith is ethics, and it doesn’t look like Ilhan Omar carries the foundational ethics of her own faith, which strongly condemns adultery.



Is Ilhan Omar a ‘Failed American Experiment?’

CAIR’s Zahra Billoo Throws Anti-Semitic Fit

Why CAIR Doesn’t Represent American Muslims


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Shireen Qudosi

Shireen Qudosi is Clarion Project's National Correspondent.

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