Magazine | August 12, 2019, Issue

That’s My Husbro: Ilhan Omar’s Family Drama

Representative Ilhan Omar at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., March 13, 2019 (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Episode 211: “My Two Ahmeds”


Int. Ilhan Omar’s Apartment — NIGHT

Ilhan bustles in from the kitchen carrying a tray of cookies.

ilhan: The cookies are done! The immigration officer will be here any minute! Hello? Are you ready?

She looks upstairs.

ilhan: (CONT’D) Ahmed! Are you ready?

AHMED ELMI comes downstairs, dressed flamboyantly for a night of dancing and clubbing.

ahmed elmi: I’m so ready! I am serving looks tonight!

He spins around.

ilhan: Why are you wearing that?

ahmed elmi: If you have to ask, sis, you’re gonna be single forever.

ilhan: No, I mean, why are you wearing that tonight?

ahmed elmi: You know, people say, oh, those women wearing headscarves, so sexist, blah blah blah. But it’s so simple and basic and you have one look for everything. But guys? Guys have to have a daytime look and a nighttime look and a nightclub look and a — 

ilhan: — and a the-immigration-officer-is-coming-over-tonight look?


ahmed elmi: Is that tonight?

ilhan: Ahmed! We talked about this! I reminded you! The immigration guy is coming over to check up on us! They do this to make sure we aren’t working the system. They’re going to see if we really are married. 

ahmed elmi: But I have a date tonight! 

ilhan: Cancel it!

ahmed elmi: Sis! No! This will be my first real date with an American guy! I met him in line at the Chipotle and we got to talking and — 

ilhan: We have to make the immigration officer think we’re married! That’s the only way to keep you in the country. You want to go back to Somalia? How’s the gay dating scene back there?

ahmed elmi: Damn it! I hate it when you make sense! But come on! It’s gonna be easy. I’ve seen this in movies. He’s going to ask a lot of personal questions to see if we really know each other. And we do. You’re my sister.

ilhan: Yeah, well, as long as he’s here, just remember: I’m not your sister, I’m your wife.

ahmed elmi: I know this sounds weird, but it’s really easy to think of you as my wife. You nag me all the time and I have zero interest in you romantically. Sounds like a wife to me!


ahmed hirsi: Hey babe! What’s for dinner?

ilhan: Ahmed!

ahmed hirsi/ahmed elmi: What?

ilhan: (to Ahmed Elmi) Not you. (to Ahmed Hirsi) You! What are you doing here?

ahmed hirsi: Um, we’re married? I live here?

ilhan: Not tonight! Tonight the immigration guy is coming! I told you!

ahmed hirsi: This morning, when I left for work, you said, See you tonight, Ahmed.

ahmed elmi: She was talking to me.

ilhan: Do I need you two to wear signs? I can’t believe this! I just wish for one second you two men would listen to me!

ahmed elmi: Here we go.

ilhan: Yes! Here we do go. I have to do everything around here. I have to take care of my husband and get married to my brother and fill out the immigration forms and you know what? I quit! You two men can figure it all out for yourselves. 

She storms off. Then she storms back in.

ilhan: You said, “Hey sis, can you help me get my American visa,” and I said, “Sure,” and you said, “It won’t be any trouble,” and you said, “I’ll help,” and all I ask, all I ask, is that the two of you keep track of one date, and that the right Ahmed shows up at the right time and the other Ahmed goes to the movies or something and then Ahmed . . . the other Ahmed, my husb . . . brother. . . oh, now I’m confused and it’s all your fault! Both of you!

She storms off. Then she storms back in.

ilhan: And don’t eat those cookies! They’re for the immigration guy!

She storms off. A long pause.

ahmed hirsi: (eating a cookie) Women, huh?

ahmed elmi: So I hear.

ahmed hirsi: Sometimes, and I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but sometimes I actually envy you gay dudes. You don’t have to deal with all of the — 

He makes the corkscrew cuckoo gesture.

ahmed elmi: Hey, that’s my sister you’re talking about! And she’s right. We should both be more supportive.

He eats a cookie. 

The doorbell rings. Ilhan races in from the kitchen.

ilhan: That’s him! Ahmed! Hide in the kitchen.

Both Ahmeds race to the kitchen.

ilhan: Not you! The other — 

She stops herself. 

ilhan: Fine.

She crosses to the door, smooths her outfit and fixes her headscarf, puts on a big smile, and opens the door. The IMMIGRATION OFFICER enters.


Int. Kitchen — CONTINUOUS

Ahmed Elmi is peering through the kitchen door. He turns to Ahmed Hirsi.

ahmed elmi: Want to hear something funny? The immigration guy? I met him today. At Chipotle. 

ahmed hirsi: So?

ahmed elmi: We have a date tonight.

ahmed hirsi: Oh boy.


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