Ilhan Omar is an Islamist hardliner who came as a refugee from Somalia to the US, as her motherland had become a failed state due to the depredations of the Islamist terror group Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen that claims to be waging jihad against “enemies of Islam”. She came to the US as a 12-years old girl, became a US citizen at 17, got the best of welfare benefits from the democracy of her choosing and was elected to the US House of Representatives in 2018 and again in 2020 from the Fifth District in Minnesota. The Somali community in this area is almost 100,000 strong, it is closely knit and in spite of having run away from their bleeding country, they maintain a strong bond with their original motherland. This extends to the city of Minneapolis where more than half of these Somalis are concentrated, it being declared in 1914 the sister city of the large Somalian city of Bosaso.
Ilhan Omar is a self-proclaimed leading figure in the so-called anti-Islamophobia movement that blames the non-Muslims of harbouring an irrational hatred of Islam and of the Muslims. It thrives on the actions of the radical Islamist organisations like Palestine’s Hamas, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Lebanon’s Iran-supported Hezbollah. Even the criticism of the terror groups like the Islamic State and Al Qaida is condemned as emanating from Islamophobia. People like Omar have conspiracy theories even about 9/11 attackson the US that were described by her as “some people did something”!
Omar is a loud anti-Semitic voice in the US Congress and a proponent of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)movement against Israel and of the one-state solution that will deny the existence of Israel as an independent Jewish state and make it a part of the larger Hamas-dominated Palestine. In 2019, she said that Jewish money was behind the US support for Israel with her infamous remark, “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby”, an allusion to the picture of Benjamin Franklin on the $100 US currency and the fact that it is derived from a Hebrew word Bīnyāmīn. Last year, she compared the US and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban and refused to back out even when criticised by her Democratic colleagues. Even before her election, she had said in 2012, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help then see the evil doing of Israel.”
It is with this background that her visit to Pakistan in April this year, shortly after the fall of Imran Khan’s government, has to be seen. The cricketer had given her a personal invitation when he was still the prime minister. She received a red carpet welcome and met the prime minister and the president. A visit to the POK right up to the border with China was facilitated and as expected, she spoke on Kashmir, condemning India and praising Pakistan. Indian government’s reaction was dismissive of her as irrelevant to the affairs of the sub-continent, calling the visit a reflection of her narrow-minded politics. An alarmed US administration rushed to control the damage and washed their hands off her visit. Though she belongs to the ruling party, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken forthrightly declared, “It’s an unofficial personal visit and it does not represent any policy change on behalf of the United States government”. The visit became controversial even in Pakistan because a few days earlier Imran Khan had accused his political rivals of colluding with the US to bring down his government. By the time she met Imran, a new government was in power and its leaders were sarcastic about Imran’s earlier allegations, wondering who was actually colluding with the US.
Undeterred by the rebuff from her own party’s government, on June 22, 2022 she introduced a resolution in the US Congress to declare India a “Country of Particular Concern under the US International Religious Freedom Act” alleging violations of human rights of religious and cultural minorities in India. Obviously, her recent visit to Pakistan had “enlightened” her about the glorious state of religious minorities in Pakistan and had convinced her that all the talk of churches and temples being destroyed in that country and minority women and children being condemned to death on trumped-up charges of blasphemy was just evidence of Islamophobia. The murderous attack on Malala because she was advocating education for Pakistani girls and conferment of Nobel Prize on her after she was forced to leave Pakistan were also events showing Islamophobia in the non-Muslim world. Most of Omar’s utterances are faith-based. Yet, when it comes to personal life, her faith retreats to a backbench. She is credibly accused of bigamy and marrying her own biological brother to facilitate her immigration to the US. Even the former President Trump had asked for investigation of these allegations but political correctness has kept a lid on these. Her own reaction to the allegations was bizarre. Her campaign spokesman Ben Goldfarb summarised her version in an email in August 2016, “I’m not legally married to two people, but I am legally married to one and culturally married to another”. This was filed before the Minnesota Campaign and Public Disclosure Board during an investigation of her campaign financing where it was revealed that she may have broken the law when she filed a joint tax return with her husband Ahmed AbdisalanHirsi while being married to another man. In Islamist’s jurisprudence, a woman guilty of such conduct is to be stoned to death!
Islamists like Omar are welcome to dip their fingers in the boiling cauldron of failing Islamic state of Pakistan. The burnt fingers will remind them for a long time that bugbears like Islamophobia do not offer any salve. They only reignite international debate about Islamists’ intolerance, cruelty and failure to provide peaceful life to the hapless people who are unfortunate enough to be citizens of Islamic countries. While the world has sometimes talked of the travails of minorities in these countries, it is the miserable lives of ordinary Muslims there that remain behind the veil, held tightly in place by the nefarious clergy emboldened by politicians like Imran Khan and Ilhan Omar. While the leaders of Pakistan and other Islamic countries and even the separatist leaders in Kashmir send their wards to the best institutions in the West, the children of commoners in these societies are handed over to religious madrasas. Deprived of a right to modern education, generation after generation of ordinary Muslims in nations like Pakistan are condemned to be blind to the world beyond religious books. Only those who are lucky enough like Omar to find refuge in a modern democratic country get access to classrooms without forbidding walls. Most of them make full use of that opportunity to learn and contribute to the welfare of mankind. Unfortunately, a few like Ilhan Omar carry with them the baggage of darkness from their motherland and vainly try to give it roots in the very country that gave them refuge.
The following words of Trump were distorted by Democrats to give them a jingoistic colour by ignoring the part about coming back. He said, “So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe… now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States… how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.” The retrograde conduct of Islamists like Ilhan Omar in democracies that gave them refuge amply justifies these words.