North Dakota GOP state lawmaker shares debunked photo, calls Omar a ‘terrorist’

A North Dakota Republican state senator on Monday reportedly shared a debunked photo on Facebook that he claimed included Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) carrying a weapon at an al-Quaeda training camp.

The post no longer appears on Sen. Oley Larsen’s Facebook page. Screenshots posted by the Grand Forks Herald show that he shared the picture with the caption: “Congresswoman at a Al’ Qaida training camp in Somalia. She is trying to get this picture blocked Share it everywhere.”

{mosads}The post features a black-and-white photo taken by The Associated Press in 1978 at a Mogadishu military training campus, according to AP. Omar, a Somali refugee who came to the U.S. with her family as a child, was born four years later. 

According to screenshots, Larsen also called Omar an “elected terrorist” in the comments section of his Facebook post. The legislator labeled the congresswoman a “terrorist” in another post shared on Sunday that urged people to vote her out of office. 

Larsen’s and Omar’s offices did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill. 

“Larsen is spreading false, grossly anti-Muslim tropes that put a Muslim member of Congress who already regularly receives death threats in further danger,” Madihha Ahussain, a special counsel for the civil rights organization Muslim Advocates, said in a statement. “When elected officials dehumanize American Muslims, it gives license to others to do the same, leading to more discrimination, more bigotry and more violence.”

Omar was one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress during last year’s Midterm elections. She has been open about her need for security because of the death threats she has received since becoming a member of Congress. 

In August, the freshman lawmaker shared an anonymous death threat she received, saying that “until deranged people like this stop threatening my life and the lives of others, I have to accept the reality of having security.”

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