Ilhan Omar responded to the son of a 9/11 victim who criticized her in his speech at Ground Zero
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
- Rep. Ilhan Omar defended her comments after she was directly criticized during a commemoration ceremony for the 9/11 terrorist attacks at Ground Zero held last week.
- After an observer who lost his mother in the attacks took aim at a part of a speech she delivered in March, in which she said on September 11, 2001, "some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties."
- Omar told "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan that she "could not understand the weight of the pain that the victims of the families of 9/11 must feel," but emphasized that in the "aftermath" of 9/11 "many Americans found themselves now having their civil rights stripped from them."
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Rep. Ilhan Omar defended her comments after she was directly criticized during a commemoration ceremony for the 9/11 terrorist attacks at Ground Zero held last week.Nicholas Haros Jr., whose mother was killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks, wore a shirt with Omar's comments that he also spoke about during the ceremony on the 18th anniversary of the attacks.Advertisement
"Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan asked Omar if she understood why Haros, and many others had taken offense at her comments that the congresswoman made earlier this year.
"The son of one of the victims stood up and specifically called out language you had used in the past that he characterized as not respectful when referring to the three thousand people who were killed by Al-Qaeda," Brennan said.Brennan was referencing Omar's comments at a March Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) event, in part of which she said she was "tired" of being treated as a "second-class" American because she was Muslim.
"For far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen, and frankly I'm tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it," Omar said. "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.""You said, 'Some people did something,' and he put it right there on his t-shirt," Brennan asked on Sunday. "Do you understand why people found that offensive?""9/11 was an attack on all Americans," Omar responded. "It was an attack on all of us. And I certainly could not understand the weight of the pain that the victims of the families of 9/11 must feel."Advertisement
Omar then emphasized her concern with the "aftermath" of 9/11, in which "many Americans found themselves now having their civil rights stripped from them," specifically Muslim Americans whose experience Omar found familiar.
I was speaking to was the fact that as a Muslim, not only was I suffering as an American who was attacked on that day, but the next day I woke up as my fellow Americans were now treating me as suspect," Omar said.Omar's comment caught widespread attention and critics were quick to decry Omar, with Republican lawmakers, President Donald Trump, and the New York Post slamming Omar after a clip of her appearance surfaced in April.Advertisement
Several lawmakers spoke out against Omar, including Democratic Rep. Max Rose, who's a veteran of Afghanistan and from New York City, describing Omar's remarks as "insensitive" and "offensive." A shocking New York Post cover portrayed that fragment of her speech above a photo of the twin towers collapsing.Omar has since been in the crosshairs of racist attacks from Trump and other lawmakers. In July, Trump tweeted Sunday morning asking the "'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen" to "go back" to their "corrupt" and "broken and crime-infested" countries.Advertisement
Trump was referring to New York Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and Omar. Of the four, only Omar was born outside the US. On her official campaign website, Omar says she and her family fled Somalia's civil war when she was 8-years-old, living in a refugee camp in Kenya for four years before immigrating to the US and moving to the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis in 1997.
"I certainly could not understand the weight of the pain that the victims of the families of 9/11 must feel," @IlhanMN says, but we should also remember that many Americans had "their civil rights stripped from them" in the wake of the attacks. pic.twitter.com/m6LbX3i2DG- Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) September 15, 2019