Omar hoping Biden speaks ‘about the rise’ in anti-Muslim bigotry in State of the Union address

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)
Greg Nash
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) walks through the Cannon tunnel to her office in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, February 2, 2023 following a vote to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Monday said that she hopes President Biden addresses “the rise and the continuation” of anti-Muslim bigotry in the U.S. in his State of the Union address. 

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes,” Omar told guest host Mehdi Hasan that she thinks bigotry played a large role in her being voted off the House Foreign Affairs Committee by GOP House members last week, noting that fellow Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and former President Trump have made bigoted remarks about Muslim Americans in the past.

“It precisely has to do with bigotry,” Omar said. “These are people who certainly don’t believe Muslim immigrants, Somali immigrants, refugees — and certainly someone who carries all those identities together — should be in the United States, let alone in Congress and wield any kind of power.”

Omar also told Hasan that she would like to hear Biden address anti-Muslim bigotry in his Tuesday night address to Congress, saying that Black immigrants matter and are a part of American society. 

“I haven’t heard the president been asked or address any of this, and would love to hear the president of the United States speak about the rise and the continuation of anti-Muslim bigotry, the demonization of Black immigrants, the demonization of Black people in this country,” Omar told Hasan.

“We are humans. We matter. We are part and parcel of American society,” Omar added. “And our lives should be valued and our opinions should be valued as every other American.” 

Omar was ousted from the Foreign Affairs Committee by House Republicans last week by a 218-211 vote.

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio), listed a number of remarks Omar made in the past that Republicans said were antisemitic, arguing that the Minnesota congresswoman disqualified herself from serving on the committee. 

When asked if she blames prominent GOP figures such as Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), and Greene, for the recent attacks and threats she received, Omar replied that all of them do not “understand the weight that their language carries” and have no remorse for it. 

“A lot of people would say, “It’s your beliefs. It is what you say. It’s the policies you push for.” But if you listen to almost every single voicemail that I get, every single hate-filled, threatening voicemail I get is always rooted in my actual identity, where I came from, my country of birth,” Omar said. “It’s rooted in the faith that I practice visibly and proudly, and it’s certainly rooted in my skin color and my ethnicity.” 

Tags anti-Muslim anti-Muslim rhetoric Donald Trump House Foreign Affairs Committee Ilhan Omar Ilhan Omar mehdi hasan Mehdi Hasan President Biden State of the Union address

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