Another Muslim woman in the U.S. Congress? Hurrah!

Ilhan Omar


As we noted last week, the state of Minnesota has given us a new Muslim Congresswoman – namely, 37-year-old Ilhan Omar, who represents Minneapolis and surrounding urban areas, and who, after her election, publicly announced that, contrary to the impression she had left during the campaign, she is a firm supporter of the anti-Israeli BDS movement.

Rashida Tlaib


Elected to the U.S. House the same day was another female Muslim – Rashida Tlaib, age 42, who represents parts of Detroit and Dearborn Heights as well as several smaller municipalities. Tlaib, formerly a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, was the first Muslim woman ever elected to any U.S. state legislature. And she and Omar are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. (Omar wears a hijab; Tlaib doesn’t.) Suitably enough, they represent all or part of two of the most heavily Islamized cities in the United States – Minneapolis and Dearborn Heights.

Keith Ellison

Like Omar, Tlaib was celebrated by the international media throughout the campaign for being all these wonderful things: young, attractive, female, Muslim. What’s not to love? As with Omar, moreover, those same media have reflexively bought Tlaib’s self-characterization as a “progressive,” which of course even adds to her lovability in the eyes of the media. As evidence of her progressivism, they point to her membership in the Democratic Socialists of America.

Yet Tlaib is also a devout Muslim – in 2014 and again on November 17 of this year, she spoke at banquets held by the Los Angeles branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations – and of course there is nothing at all progressive about CAIR, a Muslim Brotherhood front group, or about orthodox Islam generally. until recently, moreover, Tlaib professed support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian question; in an August interview, however, she stated that she was in favor of a one-state solution and a Palestinian right of return. Like Omar, she has also recently come out as a supporter of the BDS movement. At her victory party on Election Night, she danced while waving a flag. Not an American flag. A Palestinian flag.

Linda Sarsour

The eagerness of Democrat voters in the upper Midwest to put people like Omar and Tlaib in office is disconcerting. But of course they’d already sent Keith Ellison, the current holder of Omar’s House seat, to Washington, despite his background in the Nation of Islam and his chumminess with Louis Farrakhan. And left-wingers all over America have embraced Linda Sarsour, a supposed feminist and leftist who has made clear her support for sharia law and for jihad. At this point, it seems safe to predict two things. One, the number of Muslims on Capitol Hill will continue to rise, despite their failure to distance themselves from some of the more uncomfortable aspects of their faith. Two, apropos of Omar’s and Tlaib’s switcheroos on Islam, it seems a fair bet that these are only the first of many about-faces that these two women will carry off as their careers advance.  

 

Capitol Hill’s newest anti-Semite

Ilhan Omar

Among the new Members of the U.S. Congress elected on November 6 is one Ilhan Omar. Previously, she was a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. She was the first Somali American legislator to hold elective office in the U.S. She is now the first Somali American in the U.S. House. She and Rashida Tlaib, who was elected to the House on the same day, are the first Muslim women in the U.S. Congress. Representing a district that includes Minneapolis and several smaller cities, Omar will succeed another Muslim, Keith Ellison, who left Congress in order to run for State Attorney General of Minnesota, a race that he, too, won.

Now 37 years old, Omar denied during her campaign – specifically, at an August debate at a synagogue – that she supports the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. This was not a minor question, since her district, the fifth, has a sizable Jewish population. It is also by far the most Democratic district in the state, and has not voted for a Republican since 1960.

Rabbi Avi Olitzsky

Since her election, however, Omar has come out of the BDS closet. After the news came out, Avi Olitzsky, the rabbi who sponsored that August debate, expressed the hope that he could “have a dialogue with her” and thus clarify her stance. Ah, dialogue. Credulous persons who have had pleasant encounters with this or that individual Muslim are often shocked to find that that individual actually believes certain things that don’t seem terribly pleasant at all. Their initial response is often to assume that there has to be some kind of misunderstanding, because, after all, the Muslim in question seems so charming. Surely a brief friendly talk will clear it all up.

Such, alas, is the way in which many Westerners are forced to confront the largely dark reality of Islamic belief.

Keith Ellison


To be sure, it’s not as if Omar entirely hid her contempt for Israel during the election campaign. In July, Haaretz reported that she had called Israel’s government an “apartheid” regime. She had not explicitly given a thumbs-up to BDS, but she’d opposed a proposed state law banning BDS. In 2012, Omar wrote a tweet in which she expressed the hope that “Allah” would “awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

Louis Farrakhan

A halfway sensible observer might have guessed from all this that Omar is, indeed, a BDS advocate, but all too many voters – especially, perhaps, in places like Minnesota, which is known for its “niceness” – are eager to dismiss such suspicions as the product of subconscious Islamophobia, for, after all, such a lovely young woman could not possibly hold such ugly thoughts. Despite the evidence that Omar is, in fact, a nasty piece of work, the national media ran predictably glowing profiles of her, with a particularly hagiographic one appearing in The New Yorker. On Election Day, Omar won her House seat with a remarkable 78% of the vote.

This, then, is the new representative whom the voters of Minneapolis and environs have chosen to send to Washington, and will have to live with for the next two years. Perhaps her constituents can take comfort in the fact that, so far anyway, there is no sign that she is any more virulent an anti-Semite than Ellison, whose longtime ties with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, perhaps the nation’s most prominent Jew-hater, did not prevent him from being re-elected to Congress five times.