Ilhan Omar, Asked About Allegedly Supporting Al-Qaeda, Won’t ‘Dignify It With an Answer’

By Zachary Stieber

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), given an opportunity to answer to the allegation by President Donald Trump that she supports al-Qaeda, declined to respond directly.

Omar was asked about Trump’s allegation late July 15 by reporters at a press conference she and her close allies—Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)—held.

“I will not dignify it with an answer because I know that every single Islamophobe, every single person who is hateful, who is driven by an ideology of ‘othering’ as this president is, rejoices in us responding to that and us defending ourselves,” Omar said.

“I do not expect every time there is a white supremacist who attacks or there is a white man who kills in a school or in a movie theater, or in a mosque, or in a synagogue, I don’t expect my white community members to respond on whether they love that person or not,” she continued.

“And so I think it is beyond time, it’s beyond time to ask Muslims to condemn terrorists. We are no longer going to allow the dignification of such ridiculous, ridiculous statement.”

extra security sought for congressmembers
From left, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, (D-Mich.), Ilhan Omar, (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley, (D-Mass.), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-(N.Y.), respond to remarks by President Donald Trump during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington on July 15, 2019. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

The president called out Omar by name during an event at the White House on Monday.

“Well, they’re very unhappy. I’m watching them; all they do is complain. So all I’m saying is, if they want to leave, they can leave … They can leave,” he said, reported The Epoch Times.

“Somebody that comes from Somalia, which is a failed government, a failed state, who left Somalia, who ultimately came here and now is a congresswoman, who’s never happy. [Omar] says horrible things about Israel, hates Israel, hates Jews, hates Jews, it’s very simple,” he continued.

Trump at one point noted how Omar had once joked about the way her professor would say “al Qaeda” during an interview.

U.S. President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump takes part in the 3rd Annual Made in America Product Showcase on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, on July 15, 2019. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

“I look at Omar, I don’t know her, I never met her. I hear the way she talks about al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has killed many Americans. She said you could hold your chest out. When I think of America, huh. When I think of al Qaeda, I can hold my chest out,” he added.

“When she talked about the World Trade Center being knocked down, some people, you remember the famous ‘some people.’ These are people that, in my opinion, hate our country.”

Trump was referring to Omar’s comments during an appearance on PBS in 2013.

“When I was in college, I took a terrorism class,” she said at the time. “Every time the professor said ‘al-Qaeda,’ his shoulders went up. He’d say ‘al-Qaeda’ and ‘Hezbollah.’ … You don’t say ‘America’ with an intensity. You don’t say ‘England’ with the intensity. You don’t say ‘the army’ with intensity.”

During the interview, she also commented on the terror attacks at the Westgate mall in Kenya, which left nearly 70 dead and another few hundred wounded. Al-Shabab, a terror group based in Omar’s home country of Somalia, claimed responsibility.

During the interview, the host Ahmed Tharwat commented: “When are we gonna decide or realize that terrorism is a reaction? It’s an ideology, it’s a means of things, it’s not an entity, it’s not a place, people. It’s a reaction to a situation.”

“What you’re insinuating is what nobody wants to face. Nobody wants to face how the actions of the other people involved in the world have contributed to the rise of the radicalization and the rise of terrorist acts,” Omar responded.

“Nobody wants to take accountability of how these are byproducts of the actions of our involvement in other people’s affairs,” she said later in the interview.

Trump issued a fresh statement on Twitter on Tuesday, writing: “We will never be a Socialist or Communist Country. IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE! It is your choice, and your choice alone. This is about love for America.”

“Certain people HATE our Country. They are anti-Israel, pro Al-Qaeda, and comment on the 9/11 attack, ‘some people did something,’” the president added.

The last reference was to another Omar quote. Earlier this year, speaking at a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) fundraiser, she referred to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks as “some people did something.”