Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) participates in a House Education and Labor Committee Markup on the H.R. 582 Raise The Wage Act, in the Rayburn House Office Building on March 6, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
(photo credit: MARK WILSON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) gives millions of Americans a false impression of what Islam is, said activist Qanta A. Ahmed in an op-ed published in Fox News on Monday.
“While Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, holds herself out as a proud Muslim, she repeatedly projects a distorted and patently Islamist interpretation of Islam – a religion that in reality stands for the values of justice, peace and ethical conduct,” she explained, adding that Omar’s views risk to incite prejudice against Islam.
Ahmed, a doctor, is a councilor at the USC Shoah Foundation and member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Over the weekend, Omar once again sparked outrage after the release of a video of her speaking at a March 23 event of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in which she described 9/11 as “some people who did something.”
“Omar's grotesque trivialization of a national tragedy amounts to an explicit denial of 9/11 – a desecration of all the lives erased that awful day. This denial is inexplicable unless she has strong and covert Islamist sympathies. Tragically, the Sept. 11 attacks continue to take a toll almost 18 years later,” Ahmed wrote, pointing out that some estimate more than 2,100 first responders who worked in Ground Zero in New York City in an effort to save lives and then find the deceased after the attacks have died of diseases they incurred, while over 10,000 people have been diagnosed with cancer related to the World Trade Center attacks and more than 43,000 have been certified with World Trade Center-related illnesses.
Ahmed explained that, as a physician working in New York, she sees the burden of September 11 on a regular basis.
After Omar’s comments were publicized, president Donald Trump tweeted a video mixing her words with images of 9/11. The activist called the president’s reaction “both legitimate and necessary.”
Ahmed also shared her personal memories from the day of the attack.
“I was working as a physician in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was 4 p.m. when I turned on my TV and watched the world come to a standstill as I witnessed (along with people around the world) the jet planes go through the World Trade Center, and soon after saw the twin towers collapse,” she recalled.
“Living at the time in the Saudi Kingdom – the epicenter of Islam – as the world learned the identity of the 9/11 terrorists, I wondered how my religion had been hijacked by suicidal killers who claimed they had a religious duty to kill innocents. And I knew from that moment that these murderers would now become the face of Islam for many non-Muslims who know little about a religion with more the 1.6 billion followers around the globe,” Ahmed continued.
She added that while only the perpetrators of the attacks and their supporters are to blame, on that day it became the responsibility of every Muslim to understand “the heinous perversion of Islam known as Islamist jihadism and to stand against it”.
“I thank God every day that I was able to immigrate to the United States of America, where I am now a proud citizen in a country I love and where I enjoy the blessings of American liberty and protection of my rights under the US Constitution. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear Rep. Ilhan Omar express these same sentiments? Don’t expect it anytime soon,” Ahmed concluded.
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