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Politics & Policy

House Dems Divided Over Omar Comments Equating U.S. and Israel to Taliban and Hamas

Rep. Ilhan Omar outside the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2019. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

On June 7, Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota published a tweet equating the United States to Islamist terrorists. “We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” Omar wrote. “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”

On June 9, a dozen House Democrats issued a statement calling Omar’s comment “offensive” and urging her to “clarify” what she meant: 

Today, Omar responded to her dozen Democratic colleagues by refusing to apologize and writing that their statement criticizing her is “islamophobic.”

Omar’s allies are rallying to her defense. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York calls the statement from the dozen House Democrat dangerous:

Representative Cori Bush of Missouri accuses the dozen House Democrats of racism and Islamophobia:

This isn’t the first time that Ilhan Omar has suggested a moral equivalence between the United States and Islamist terrorists.

In an interview conducted before she was elected, Omar suggested some sort of equivalence between America and Al-Qaeda: 

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, in a newly resurfaced clip of an old interview, joked about people saying “Al Qaeda” and “Hezbollah” in a severe tone — while noting nobody says words like “America” that way.

“When I was in college, I took a terrorism class. . . . . The thing that was interesting in the class was every time the professor said ‘Al Qaeda’ his shoulders went up,” Omar said during an interview from 2013 when she was an activist within the Somali community, chuckling as she imitated the professor saying “Al Qaeda” and “Hezbollah.”

Omar went on to contrast the way people say the names of terror groups with how they pronounce the names of western powers: “But you know, it is that you don’t say ‘America’ with an intensity, you don’t say ‘England’ with the intensity. You don’t say ‘the army’ with the intensity,” she continued. “. . . . But you say these names [Al Qaeda] because you want that word to carry weight. You want it to be something.”


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