Republican Ilhan Omar says she's faced increased death threats since President Donald Trump spread around a video that purports to show her being dismissive of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Trump escalated that rhetoric further with his Friday tweet, which declared "WE WILL NEVER FORGET!" over 43 seconds of Omar's comments interspersed with footage from Lower Manhattan during the attacks.
Omar told a Los Angeles gathering of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on March 23 that many Muslims saw their civil liberties eroded after the September 11 attacks. Omar also said Muslims had "lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I'm exhausted of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be exhausted 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".
Congressmember Omar's comments were originally taken out of context and circulated by right-wing media, from The Daily Caller to Fox News. She said "some people did something" when referring to the 9/11 attacks on that killed almost 3,000 people.
Despite receiving even more attention since the poster incident, much of which was bad, Ms Omar chose to use her elevated profile to continue to spread messages of tolerance and awareness.
The liberal journalist began by accusing the president of using Islam "as a way of enflaming tensions and scoring political points", pointing to the president's claim that "Islam hates us" and his call for a Muslim ban during the 2016 election.
Omar said in a statement posted on Twitter Sunday that numerous increased threats she had received were "directly referencing or replying to the President's video". And assaults increase when cities host Trump rallies.
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday night defended Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress, against "outrageous, racist" attacks, while insisting again that criticism of "a right wing government in Israel" is not tantamount to anti-Semitism.
Trump included in the tweet an edited video of the 9/11 attacks. She thanked Pelosi, the Capitol Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the House sergeant at arms for taking the threats against her seriously.
Omar also said, "Violent crimes and other acts of hate by right-wing extremists and white nationalists are on the rise in this country and around the world". House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday criticized the president for using the "sacred" memory of 9/11 for a political attack.
Pelosi, a Democrat from California, also took aim at the press for its continuous coverage of his tweets, like last month, when the president tweeted over 50 times in a weekend.
The very moment it became obvious this strong black Muslim congresswoman would not toe the line, she was always going to be maligned.
Omar mounted a trenchant fightback, tweeting Saturday: "No one person - no matter how corrupt, inept, or vicious - can threaten my unwavering love for America. It has to stop", said Omar.
"We are all Americans".
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