Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) lambasted a female Muslim audience member Tuesday for asking her to renounce female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice common in Omar’s native Somalia.
Omar was reportedly taking questions an event for the Muslim Collective for Equitable Democracy event when Muslim audience member Ani Osman-Zonneveld of Muslims for Progressive Values asked Omar to condemn FGM.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) explodes at an audience member who asked her if she could condemn female genital mutilation
Omar responds by saying the question is "appalling" and she is "disgusted" to be asked if she condemns "al-Qaeda," "FGM," and "Hamas," saying it's a "waste" of time pic.twitter.com/9Ipl55wig9
— Molly Prince (@mollyfprince) July 23, 2019
Omar said she was “disgusted” by people who ask Muslim politicians specific questions on issues and groups embraced by extreme members of their religion – such as FGM, al-Qaeda, and Hamas – and called it a “waste” of time.
“I am, I think, quite disgusted I think to be honest that as Muslim legislators, we are constantly being asked to waste our time speaking to issues that other people are not asked to speak to because of the assumption exist that we somehow support and are for [the issue],” Omar said, according to BuzzFeed News.
She urged audience members to think twice before asking Muslim lawmakers questions, pressing them to ensure that it is a “proper question that they would probably ask any member of Congress, any legislator, [or] any politician.”
While Omar condemned FGM as “abhorrent,” she continued to focus on the sentiment of the question, claiming that she and fellow “Squad” member and Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) are held to different standards than non-Muslim members of Congress.
The question is posed: Could you and Rashida do this? And it’s like how often — should I make a schedule? Does this need to be on repeat every five minutes? Should I be like, so today I forgot to condemn al-Qaeda, so here’s the al-Qaeda one. Today I forgot to condemn FGM, so here we go. Today I forgot to condemn Hamas.
“You know, I mean, like, it is a very frustrating question that comes up,” Omar continued.
“So I would like, not just for you, but for everyone to know that if you want us to speak as politicians, American politicians, then you treat us as such,” she added.
FGM is a procedure in which a woman or, often, girl’s outer genitalia are partially or completely removed, typically by older women. It is common in eastern Africa and not an exclusively Muslim practice, nor do many Muslims outside of the region engage in FGM. In Somalia, however, where Omar and a growing number of her constituents in Minnesota were born, some estimate that as many as 95 percent of girls undergo FGM.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated this year that “more than 500,000 women and girls in the United States are at risk of or have been subjected to FGM/C (Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting).”
Omar has recently been accused of having sympathy for terrorist groups, following a resurfaced video from 2013 featuring Omar drawing “a moral equivalence between radical Islamic terror and ‘the violence that is done [by] the West,'” Breitbart News reported. However, Omar did not endorse terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda.
Last week, Omar and Tlaib introduced a controversial resolution aimed to support the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Omar compared the BDS movement to the Boston Tea Party and likened Israel to the terrorist organization, Hamas.
Breitbart News reported:
In her speech about the resolution, Omar likened Israel, which goes to extreme lengths to minimize civilian casualties, to Hamas, a terrorist group which deliberately targets civilians and routinely utilizes civilians as human shields. Omar stated that she condemns “in the strongest terms violence that perpetuates the occupation whether it is perpetuated by Israel, Hamas or individuals.”
In a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, opposing an anti-BDS resolution, Tlaib compared the BDS movement’s efforts to boycotting Nazi Germany.
Omar’s recent remarks on America have brought her to the forefront of political controversy. The Minnesota lawmaker recently told a crowd at a Netroots Nation event that she is ashamed of America “continuing to live in its hypocrisy.”
“We export American exceptionalism,” Omar said. “The Great America. The land of liberty and justice. That is, you know, you ask anybody in, walking on the side of the street somewhere in the middle of the world, they will tell you America the Great.”
“But we don’t live those values here,” she continued.
“And, so, that hypocrisy is one that I am bothered by,” she added. “I want America the Great to be America the Great.”
President Trump took aim at the “Squad” Sunday, tweeting that he did not believe they were “capable of loving our country”:
I don’t believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country. They should apologize to America (and Israel) for the horrible (hateful) things they have said. They are destroying the Democrat Party, but are weak & insecure people who can never destroy our great Nation!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2019
He targeted Omar specifically Tuesday, describing her as an “America hating anti-Semite.”
In 2016 I almost won Minnesota. In 2020, because of America hating anti-Semite Rep. Omar, & the fact that Minnesota is having its best economic year ever, I will win the State! “We are going to be a nightmare to the President,” she say. No, AOC Plus 3 are a Nightmare for America!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2019
In apparent response, Omar accused Trump of harboring “inherent racism” throughout his life.