Ilhan Omar calls for dismantling US 'system of oppression' in anti-racism speech

Ilhan Omar calls for dismantling US 'system of oppression' in anti-racism speech
Muslim Minnesota Congresswoman Illham Omar delivered a powerful speech about racism in the US.
3 min read
08 July, 2020
Ilhan Omar words caused anger among Republicans [Getty]
Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar delivered a scathing speech about racism in the US and called for the dismantling of a "system of oppression".

The Minnesota Democrat slammed the US' weak response to tackling racism, saying it exists systematically at every level, following the killing of African American man George Floyd at the hands of White police officers.

"We can't stop at criminal justice reform or policing reform," she said during an outdoor press conference.

"We are not merely fighting to tear down the systems of oppression in the criminal justice system. We are fighting to tear down systems of oppression that exist in housing, in education, in health care, in employment, [and] in the air we breathe."

"As long as our economy and political systems prioritise profit without considering who is profiting, who is being shut out, we will perpetuate this inequality," Omar continued.

She said that Americans must work of dismantling the "whole system of oppression" in the US.

In the speech, the ‘Squad’ member promoted the Green New Deal, championed by fellow Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "because we know that environmental racism is real".

Her comments ruffled feathers about leading Republicans, including President Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr, who took to Twitter and asked Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden if he agreed with Omar's words.

"Does @joebiden agree with his supporter @ilhanmn that we need to dismantle the United States economy and political system?" Trump Jr. tweeted.

"Does our education system know it has failed you?" Omar shot back.

"Your level of comprehension is such an embarrassment to our country, maybe someone can offer you free English classes."

Some Republicans criticised Omar for what they perceived to be an attack on the US constitution.

"Ilhan Omar took an oath to defend and protect the Constitution, not shred it," Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn said on Twitter.

"Omar and her Marxist comrades are a threat to our Democracy. Omar should resign."

Omar held a press conference in Minnesota, alongside leaders from the Minnesota People of Color and Indigenous Caucus.

Supporters of Omar took to social media to defend her words, calling them vital in the wake of the killing of Floyd.

New York Democrat congressman Jamaal Bowman offered his support, writing on Twitter: "Like @IlhanMN, I support dismantling the whole system of oppression."

"Why is the GOP and FOX News so outraged? Because they want Americans to hate Black women, Muslims, and refugees more than the people in power benefitting from a system that causes the majority to suffer."

Wisconsin Democrat Mark Pocan added: "Can someone explain why we must begin the work of dismantling the whole system of oppression wherever we find it" is controversial?

"It's as if the GOP thinks systems of oppression...are good?
That being said, we are so lucky to have @IlhanMN in Congress—where she belongs."

“I love how everything Ilhan says triggers the racists,” one Twitter user commented.

Last month Omar joined a chorus of voices calling for Minneapolis Police Department to be dismantld following Floyd’s death, calling it "rotten to the root”.

"A new way forward can’t be put in place if we have a department that is having a crisis of credibility, if we have a department that’s led by a chief who’s suited for racism, if we have a department that hasn’t solved half of the homicides,” Omar said on CNN’s “State of the Union” in June.

“And so, you can’t really form a department that is rotten to the root. What you can do is rebuild.”

“No one is saying that the community is not going to be kept safe. No one is saying crimes will not be investigated." 

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