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Omar and the outrage factory: The long knives are out for her

Minnesota 5th District  Rep. Ilhan Omar is choosing not to shut up nor even to back down. I wouldn’t particularly blame her if she concluded that a policy of hypercaution would amount to surrender.

Rep. Ilhan Omar
Rep. Ilhan Omar
MinnPost file photo by Tony Nelson

At the risk of stating the obvious:

Rep. Ilhan Omar would have benefited from adding a few more words to her description of the 9/11 attacks as “some people did something.”

She could have, and perhaps wishes she had, said something like: “On September 11, some despicable terrorists, who consider themselves Muslims but who are a disgrace to our religion of peace, committed an unspeakable act of mass murder against innocent Americans against whom they had no legitimate grievance, no matter how much they might despise some of the actions and policies of the U.S. government.”

Perhaps, if she had said that (and it would not have been out of keeping with the rest of her remarks) the Republican outrage factory would have had to find something else to use to inflame their Islamophobia.

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She said what she said and it has now entered the outrage factory as if she had said that the 9/11 attacks were no big deal. She did not say anything remotely close to that, at least for me, reading her remarks in their full context.

I suspect you’ve seen it by now, but the full passage went like this:

Here’s the truth. 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. 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. So you can’t just say that today someone is looking at me strange and that I am trying to make myself look pleasant. You have to say that this person is looking at me strange, I am not comfortable with it, and I am going to talk to them and ask them why. Because that is the right you have.

CAIR is the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Omar erred in saying it was founded after Sept. 11, 2001. It was founded in 1994. The event at which she made her remark was a CAIR event. The rest of her remarks were utterly uncontroversial.

Omar must know by now that the long knives are out for her. She is choosing not to shut up nor even to back down. I wouldn’t particularly blame her if she concluded that a policy of hypercaution would amount to surrender.

As for those who are having their fun with this latest excuse to portray Omar as an America-hating Islamic jihadist, I don’t suppose they care about context, and I suppose they would say that Trump-haters take everything unfortunate he says out of context. But I don’t think you have to try too hard, with a president who used to urge the crowd at his rallies to “beat the crap out of” protesters, to portray him as hateful toward those who don’t adore him.

For those who care abouit facts, here is a very good Washington Post fact-check based on the Omar some-people-did-something  controversy.

Here is how Trump’s buddy Sean Hannity chose to use his considerable influence to calm the waters after the Omar talk.

Here is a small collection of instances in which Trump celebrated or incited violence.