The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was founded in 1994, and it describes itself as “a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding.” In 2007, the US government gave CAIR a different description: unindicted co-conspirator.
The designation came amid allegations it helped funnel money to Hamas–a terror group that has killed hundreds of people. This didn’t stop Rep. Ilhan Omar from attending a recent CAIR event, however, and her remarks there made headlines.
Just not the kind she wanted.
“Here’s the truth,” Omar said. “For far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen. Frankly, I’m tired of it. And every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. 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.”
As noted above, CAIR wasn’t founded after 9/11. It’s also not clear who declared Muslims to be second class citizens. Certainly not then President George W. Bush: Bush repeatedly denounced anti-Muslim discrimination and went so far as to assert that Islam “is based upon peace” (the facts assert something else).
What is clear? That the phrase “some people did something” sparked outrage, with many believing it trivialized America’s worst terrorist attack. Some of Omar’s fellow Democrats also expressed outrage…at her critics.
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Alexandria Ocasio Cortez said the condemnation was “incitement to violence against progressive women of color,” while Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib called it “racist.” Tlaib knows something about racism: she once subscribed to an instagram account that that compared Jews to rats.
Omar’s defenders are shocked by suggestions that she minimized the horror of terrorism, but I’m really not sure why. After all, she’s done it before.
During one interview, Omar chuckled while recalling how a college instructor would pronounce the name “Al-Qaeda” with a fearful tone that he wouldn’t use when saying “England” or "the Army." That Al-Qaeda regularly engaged in suicide bombings and beheadings didn’t seem to register with her:
Further, in 2016 she sought mercy for one of nine Minnesota men who had attempted join to ISIS. In a letter to the presiding judge, Omar asked that he be treated with “compassion,” arguing that “systematic alienation” and “perceived injustice” caused him to embrace ISIS's “radical approach to change-making.” This "radical approach" included throwing gays off buildings, drowning people in cages, and using children as sex slaves.
In a tweet, Republican congressman and decorated combat vet Dan Crenshaw called Omar's 9/11 remarks "unbelievable." Given her track record, there's another adjective that's more fitting.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.