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Ilhan Omar says Republicans don’t want a Muslim in Congress

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)
Muslim US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar

Muslim US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has criticized House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), saying Republicans don’t want a Muslim in Congress.

McCarthy has vowed to remove Omar from her committee posts over her condemnation of Israel’s war crimes.

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

Omar on Sunday said some Republicans are “OK with Islamophobia” in response to questions about efforts by McCarthy to block her from continuing to sit on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“You remember Donald Trump coming into my state and saying, ‘Muslims, Somali refugees are infiltrating our country.’ You remember [Rep.] Marjorie Taylor Greene [R-Ga.] coming to Congress after [Rep.] Rashida [Tlaib (D-Mich.)] and I got sworn in and saying, ‘Muslims are infiltrating Congress.’ You remember [Rep. Lauren] Boebert [R-Colo.] saying that I was a terrorist. What did McCarthy do? He said, ‘She apologized, and we don’t have to worry about her Islamophobia. That never happened,'” Omar said on CNN.

“And so these people are OK with Islamophobia. They’re OK with trafficking in their own ways in antisemitism. They are not OK with having a Muslim have a voice on that committee,” Omar said. 

McCarthy attacked Omar, the first Somali American and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, for removal from House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Omar’s removal requires a vote by the entire chamber, while Swalwell’s and Schiff’s removals could be made by McCarthy alone due to rules around the Intelligence Committee.

“If they want to debate political differences, and that’s something that we should all have the opportunity to do so, but to smear someone and their character, their love for their country and the work that they get to do on a committee is wrong,” Omar said.

“And it is politically motivated. And, in some cases, it’s motivated by the fact that many of these members don’t believe a Muslim, a refugee, an African should even be in Congress, let alone have the opportunity to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee.”

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

Omar has accused pro-Israel lawmakers of showing “allegiance to a foreign country,” and has criticized the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for its role in shaping US policy.

In May 2021, Omar condemned US President Joe Biden for siding with Israel’s oppressive occupation of Palestine and carrying out atrocities against Palestinians.

Earlier in April 2019, Omar made former US President Donald Trump furious for highlighting Israeli apartheid crimes against Palestinians.

“She’s been very disrespectful to this country. She’s been very disrespectful, frankly, to Israel. She is somebody that doesn’t really understand life, real life. What it’s all about,” Trump said in defense of the Israeli regime back then.

The congresswoman remains among a minority of US lawmakers who strongly oppose an apartheid regime in Occupied Palestine, is outspoken against the US selling of arms abroad, and fiercely opposes gun laws in the country that allow the purchase of military combat weapons by any individual over the age of 18 with a little background check.

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