U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota talked on the phone Monday about Boebert's recent comments connecting Islam to terrorism. The call did not go well. The Democratic Omar hung up on the Republican Boebert when Boebert refused to apologize publicly for her remarks.
Boebert has since said, "As a strong Christian woman who values faith deeply, I never want anything I say to offend someone's religion," but she refused again to apologize.
"I will fearlessly continue to put America first, never sympathizing with terrorists," Boebert wrote on social media. "Unfortunately Ilhan can't say the same thing and our country is worse off for it."
It is wrong to tie Islam automatically to terrorism. But Omar herself does have a questionable history of anti-American comments and odd legislative actions when it comes to radical Islamic terrorism.
First, unquestionably, the overwhelming majority of Muslims do not condone or honor radical Islamic terrorists and those who associate with them, nor do they try to create an equivalence between the actions of terrorist groups and official U.S. government actions. Yet, Omar has a disturbing pattern of behavior regarding radical Islamic terrorism.
For example, Boebert insinuated that Omar has ties to Islamic extremists — which she absolutely does. In 2019, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Omar participated in fundraisers with groups that “have been tied to the support of terrorism.” If you want to know why Omar is repeatedly linked to such extremism, examine Omar’s history.
What the media do not report is that there are many Muslims who are staunchly opposed to Omar, her legislative history, her rhetoric, and her behavior.
Dalia al Aqidi, an Iraqi refugee, journalist, and senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, has made the same claim. She has called Omar “a disgrace to every American Muslim who believes in freedom.” Al Aqidi has been very critical of Omar's past. She ran against her for Congress in 2020 but lost.
“On the surface, we look the same. We're both women, refugees, Muslims, but we couldn't be further apart. She sows seeds of division, defending our enemies,” Al Aqidi declared in a campaign fundraising drive, reported by Arab News.
Al Aqidi also tweeted about Omar's meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. She questioned the motives of the meeting.
Likewise, the devout Muslim NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom is on record criticizing Omar and her radical beliefs. Kanter Freedom previously criticized Omar's seemingly close connection to authoritarian Erdogan, who is closely identified with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is a militant Islamic organization that Congress sought to declare a terrorist organization. Is Kanter Freedom, who fasts for Ramadan even while in the middle of the NBA season, an Islamophobe, too?
Omar has repeatedly used what should be considered anti-American rhetoric and behavior. Most infamously, she brushed off the al Qaeda terrorist attacks of 9/11 with the comment that “some people did something.” Another time, Omar likened U.S. foreign policy to the actions of the terrorist groups Hamas and the Taliban, tweeting, “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”
Omar voted against a bill in 2017, while in Minnesota's Legislature, that denied life insurance benefits to terrorists.
Omar also refused to support a bill recognizing the Armenian genocide — which is to say that Omar supports human rights and victims of atrocities except when the aggressors are Muslim.
Given Omar’s questionable history of antisemitic comments and actions and votes that evince her own extremism, she deserves scrutiny. Ilhan Omar has made a lot of anti-American comments and has a history as a legislator showing leniency for people who seek to harm the country. As an elected officeholder, Omar should be held accountable for her questionable past actions, not for her religion.