Conservative activist disrupts campaign event for Muslim candidates

Rashida Tlaib for Congress

A conservative activist crashed a campaign event for two Muslim candidates on Saturday, interrupting them with shouted questions about Hamas and “terrorist groups.”

Laura Loomer, formerly of the group Project Veritas, shared images and video of the incident on Twitter, calling the candidates “Jihadi” and writing that she was helping Minnesotans “break free from Sharia.” 

The event supported Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL) and former Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D). Omar is a Somali-American candidate running to fill the congressional seat vacated by Rep. Keith Ellison (D), who is running for Minnesota attorney general.

Tlaib, meanwhile, won the Democratic nomination for the seat previously held by former Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). She is set to be the first Muslim woman and Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress.

The video shows Loomer confronting Tlaib and Omar at the event at Minneapolis’ Holy Land deli, shouting questions about female genital mutilation and why they “hate Israel.”

{mosads}Loomer also brought up a number of unfounded accusations against Omar, including that she committed immigration fraud by marrying her brother, and allegedly misused campaign funds to pay for a divorce lawyer.

According to the Star-Tribune, Loomer was accompanied by a number of other people who interrupted the candidates while they spoke about their races.

Tlaib appears to recognize Loomer, and can be heard saying that she heard Loomer “stalks” her.

“I actually like people like her,” Tlaib says in the video.

Loomer, who has been described as “alt-right” and anti-Muslim due to her writings online and work for a far-right Canadian newspaper, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that she has been “investigating” Muslim candidates.

Minnesota state Rep. Ray Dehn (DFL) told the Star-Tribune that the disruption prevented the candidates from speaking very much, but praised the diversity of the attendees and their support for the candidates.

“Unfortunately, [they] weren’t able to speak a lot because they kept getting interrupted,” he said. “I’ve seen way too much of this, and it’s really getting sickening … Islamophobia really has no place.”

A spokesperson for Omar told The Hill that the campaign had no comment on the incident and that she and her team would be working to “connect with voters and earn their endorsement on Tuesday.”

The Hill has also reached out to Tlaib’s campaign for comment.

–This report was updated at 12:02 a.m.

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