US Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar calls Donald Trump a 'racist tyrant'

US Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar calls Donald Trump a 'racist tyrant'
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar says the right vilified her Muslim and refugee identity.
3 min read
17 September, 2020
Omar called the president a racist [Getty]

Muslim US congresswoman Ilhan Omar referred to US President Donald Trump as a "racist" in a lengthy interview, as Black Lives Matter protests continue across the country in response to police brutality against African-Americans.

"I happen to embody multiple marginal identities. I’m a woman, I’m black, I’m a refugee, an immigrant, a Muslim and I wear a hijab. And all of those are identities that have been vilified by the right... and weaponised by Donald Trump," the 37-year-old told The Independent.

"For me, that understanding allows me to be resolved in the ways in which I unapologetically show up, advocate for policies that make our country a more equitable society."

Ilhan also spoke about her refugee background.

"America… for so many people living abroad, including myself when I lived in a refugee camp, is a place where people do get an opportunity to fulfil their promise.

"And the idea that the United States has been seen as a place of refuge, as a place where as my grandfather used to say ‘eventually everyone becomes an American’, is now being led by a xenophobic, racist tyrant, who doesn’t understand anything that is fundamental to the American identity – that’s a shock to many people."

Earlier this year Trump appeared to fuel racist attacks against the Minnesota congresswoman. Speaking at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump claimed she was seeking to corrupt "our country".

The rhetoric used has been called racist and exclusionary.

"Omar is going to be very much involved in a Biden government," he said at the time, referring to the upcoming elections.

"They will put this hate-filled, America- bashing socialist front and centre in deciding the fate of your family and deciding the fat of your country.

"I don’t think so"

He then claimed the hijab-clad Somali-American has an agenda to infiltrate Washington to turn the US into the "country from which she came".

"She would like to make the government of our country just like the country from where she came - Somalia. No government, no safety, no police, no nothing, just anarchy. And now, she's telling us how to run our country. No, thank you."

Trump’s comments came during widespread protests calling for racial and social justice as activists say institutional racism has caused the death of innocent Black civilians across the country.

Last August, Omar shared via her Twitter page the image of a chilling death threat which she received.

The message, typed on a single piece of A4 paper, said Omar would be killed at the Minnesota State Fair, by a "very capable person with a very big 'Gun'".

The Democratic Congresswoman said that such threats are the reason she has a bodyguard with her despite her unease at the concept of personal security.

Prior to the threat, Omar suffered racist attacks by Trump, including one tweet when he told left-leaning Democrat politicians to "go back" to their "corrupt and inept" countries.

Although he did not mention Omar by name, most people viewed the tweet to be directed at the Somali-born Democrat, among others he has publicly attacked.

At the time, Omar said that she receives more death threats when Trump publicly berates her.

Omar, one of the first two Muslim congresswomen - along with Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib - was elected in 2018 and was the first to wear a hijab on the House floor.

She has been at the forefront of promoting progressive policies, including the defunding and reconstruction of the Minneapolis Police Department.

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