- Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota defended her comments after she was directly criticized during a commemoration ceremony at ground zero last week on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
- After an observer who lost his mother in the attacks took aim at a part of a speech she delivered in March, in which she said on September 11, 2001, “some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
- Omar told “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan that she “could not understand the weight of the pain that the victims of the families of 9/11 must feel,” but emphasized that in the “aftermath” of 9/11 “many Americans found themselves now having their civil rights stripped from them.”
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Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota defended comments she made months ago about 9/11 after she was directly criticized during a commemoration ceremony held last week on the terrorist attacks’ 18th anniversary.
Nicholas Haros Jr., whose mother was killed in the September 11, 2001, attacks, wore a shirt with Omar’s comments, which he discussed during the ceremony.
The “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan asked Omar whether she understood why Haros and many others had taken offense at her comments.
“The son of one of the victims stood up and specifically called out language you had used in the past that he characterized as not respectful when referring to the 3,000 people who were killed by Al Qaeda,” Brennan said.
At a Council on American-Islamic Relations event in March, Omar had said she was “tired” of being treated as a “second-class” American because she was Muslim.
“For far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen, and frankly I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it,” Omar said. “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
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Republican lawmakers including President Donald Trump were among those who criticized Omar after a video clip of her comment surfaced in April, with many arguing that the “some people did something” summary of 9/11 trivialized the attacks.
Democratic Rep. Max Rose, a New York City native who served in Afghanistan, described Omar’s remarks as “insensitive” and “offensive.” A shocking New York Post cover portrayed that fragment of her speech above a photo of the twin towers collapsing.
“You said, ‘Some people did something,’ and he put it right there on his T-shirt,” Brennan said on Sunday of Haros. “Do you understand why people found that offensive?”
“9/11 was an attack on all Americans,” Omar responded. “It was an attack on all of us. And I certainly could not understand the weight of the pain that the victims of the families of 9/11 must feel.”
Omar then emphasized her concern with the aftermath of 9/11, in which she said “many Americans found themselves now having their civil rights stripped from them,” specifically Muslim Americans whose experience Omar found familiar.
“I was speaking to was the fact that as a Muslim, not only was I suffering as an American who was attacked on that day, but the next day I woke up as my fellow Americans were now treating me as suspect,” Omar said.
“I certainly could not understand the weight of the pain that the victims of the families of 9/11 must feel,” @IlhanMN says, but we should also remember that many Americans had “their civil rights stripped from them” in the wake of the attacks. pic.twitter.com/m6LbX3i2DG
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) September 15, 2019
Omar has been subject to racist attacks from Trump and other lawmakers. In July, Trump tweeted asking a group of “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen,” which included Omar, to “go back” to their “corrupt” and “broken and crime-infested” countries. Of the lawmakers, all four were US citizens and only Omar was born outside the US.
On her official campaign website, Omar says she and her family fled Somalia’s civil war when she was 8 years old, living in a refugee camp in Kenya for four years before immigrating to the US and moving to the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis in 1997.