News   /   Human Rights   /   Interviews   /   Editor's Choice

Journalist: McCarthy's threats against Omar ‘illustrate the institutional racism in the US system’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Kevin McCarthy says he will keep his promise to remove Ilhan Omar from her position on the Foreign Affairs Committee if he becomes the next Speaker of the US House.

Presumptive US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's threats against African American Congresswoman Ilhan Omar “illustrate the institutional racism inherent in the US political system,” according to African American writer and journalist Abayomi Azikiwe.

Azikiwe, an editor at the Pan-African News Wire, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Friday after US House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) vowed to remove Omar from her committee posts over her condemnation of Israel’s war crimes if he becomes speaker of the House.

On Monday, Omar hit back at McCarthy and his Republican Party, saying they "use fear, xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism to target me." 

Omar (D-MN) issued the following statement after McCarthy threatened to strip her from her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“From the moment I was elected, the Republican Party has made it their mission to use fear, xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism to target me on the House Floor and through millions of dollars of campaign ads. 

“Whether it is Marjorie Taylor Greene holding a gun next to my head in campaign ads or Donald Trump threatening to ‘send me back’ to my country (despite the fact that I have been a proud citizen of the United States for more than 20 years), this constant stream of hate has led to hundreds of death threats and credible plots against me and my family. 

“At the same time, they have openly tolerated antisemitism, anti-Muslim hate and racism in their own party. Newly-elected Whip Tom Emmer said prominent Jewish Democrats 'essentially bought control of Congress.' And McCarthy himself accused Jewish Democrats of trying to 'buy elections.'

“Instead of doing anything to address the open hostility towards religious minorities in his party, McCarthy is now lifting up people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Emmer and so many others. If he cared about addressing the rise in hate, he would apologize and make sure others in his party apologized. 

“McCarthy’s effort to repeatedly single me out for scorn and hatred—including threatening to strip me from my committee—does nothing to address the issues our constituents deal with. It does nothing to address inflation, healthcare, or solve the climate crisis. 

“What it does is gin up fear and hate against Somali-Americans and anyone who shares my identity, and further divide us along racial and ethnic lines. It is a continuation of a sustained campaign against Muslim and African voices, people in his party have been trying to ban since Donald Trump first ran for office.

“I will not stop fighting for more equitable, more just and more humane policies. I will not stop advocating for peace and human rights around the world. And I will not stop fighting for an America that does not single out people based on their race or religion.”

Azikiwe said, “McCarthy's threat to ban Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from participating in the foreign relations committee is an outrage. It should be illegal under Constitutional law since Congresswoman Omar has been elected three times by her constituents in the state of Minnesota.”

“She has not been charged or found guilty of breaking any United States laws or Congressional rules. This is an attempt to further criminalize African Americans and Muslim Americans in the US,” he added.

“McCarthy's threats illustrate the institutional racism inherent in the US political system,” the journalist stated.

“During the late 1960s, militant African American Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. was illegally expelled from the House of Representatives leaving his district without representation for three years. Powell was eventually vindicated by the Courts. Omar should wage a struggle to maintain her full authority as a member of Congress,” he noted.

Omar has long been critical of the regime of Israel and its actions in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Along with US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the two have triggered a widespread debate in the US about Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians and American aid to the regime.

Tlaib and Omar, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, are outspoken critics of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians and vocal supporters of the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement. The two called “Israel” an “apartheid state” guilty of war crimes.

The 37-year-old US lawmaker is originally from Somalia and represents Minneapolis, Minnesota, a district with a large Somali population.

In his earlier interview with Press TV, Azikiwe said the independent organization of the African American people in alliance with other oppressed peoples in the United States must overturn “the existing system which is rooted in racism and exploitation.”

“There is potentially the threat of civil war in the US. It is a civil war that oppressed and working-class people are not prepared for no more than what developed in 1860-61, when the intolerance of the slaveocracy and the indifference of northern industrialists led to a four-year conflict that killed nearly one million people. This war created the conditions for the elimination of chattel slavery and the ostensible freedom of African people who were in captivity since the 16th and 17th centuries under Spain and Britain,” he said.

“However, it is not only the fault of the Republicans. The Democratic Party under President Joe Biden has been largely ineffective in passing legislation and issuing executive orders aimed at protecting the rights of African Americans, people of color communities and women. There are concerted efforts underway to turn back the social clock making African Americans, Latin Americans, women and all oppressed groups slaves of the racist and capitalist system. Both parties which are dominant in the US deserved condemnation for their perpetuation of the exploitative and discriminatory political culture which remains pervasive in the US,” he stated.

“The only solution to this quagmire is the independent organization of the African American people in alliance with other oppressed peoples to overturn the existing system which is rooted in racism and exploitation,” the analyst added.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku