People For the American Way

PFAW Stands with Rep. Ilhan Omar and Condemns Racist, Bigoted Attacks

People For in Action
PFAW Stands with Rep. Ilhan Omar and Condemns Racist, Bigoted Attacks
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) listens to a member of the youth leadership on stage address the crowd at the 2019 Youth Climate Strike in Washington D.C. on March 15, 2019.

In a statement condemning the recent attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., People For the American Way President Michael Keegan said that she is being attacked because she is a young Black Muslim woman fighting for progressive values. On April 15, PFAW also joined a coalition letter urging members of Congress to join us in calling out such disturbing and dangerous rhetoric. You can download our letter here.

We—the undersigned—stand in solidarity with Representative Ilhan Omar and firmly against the rise of Islamophobic attacks and attempts to divide us as a people.

The attacks against Rep. Omar are attacks on the values of our democracy. White supremacy, discrimination, bigotry, and hateful expressions against immigrants, refugees, people of color, and communities of faith are despicable and contrary to the values and aspirations of the United States. In the face of such attacks, we reiterate our commitment to love, pluralism, diversity, and freedom of expression, religion, and conscience.

Rep. Omar is a visionary and inspiring leader demanding an end to the culture of endless wars, calling out the white supremacists and war criminals in the Trump administration, championing democracy and efforts to make it work for all of us, and fiercely standing for the human rights of immigrants and asylum-seekers. She’s done this in committee hearings, over social media, and at actions in Minnesota and Washington, D.C. She’s been unafraid to use her position to speak her truth and to fiercely advocate for the people of her district.

It’s because of her strident leadership of progressive values, as well as her identity as the first Black Muslim woman in Congress, that she is a target of constant racist and bigoted attacks from Donald Trump, right-wing media and extremists, Republican leaders, and even, at times, Democratic colleagues.

The attacks aimed at Rep. Omar are beyond the pale. Far from legitimate disagreements and critiques, there are intentional efforts to spread misinformation and incite fear and hate in the hearts of people in this country. These are blatant attempts to divide and distract us, while Trump and the GOP undermine our democracy and enrich themselves and their friends. These irresponsible acts have led to a barrage of violent threats and verbal assaults against Rep. Omar and the Muslim community.

People can disagree on policy in good faith and critique one another for particular views, political appearances, and language. But what is happening now—on television, over Twitter, from the stages of political rallies—is incitement to violence and hate against an elected official already facing credible death threats, against a community already under attack around the world, and against humanity as a whole. We won’t be fooled by these attempts to make us fearful of one another, of Muslims and immigrants so Trump can scapegoat them and exploit economic anxieties while he gives massive tax breaks to corporations and destroys government programs that so many Americans depend on.

We stand together against this type of rhetoric and the policies and violence tied to it, and we stand with Ilhan Omar as she provides a groundbreaking model of leadership in Congress.

We call on all members of Congress to speak out against these attacks and stand with Rep. Omar and against the racist and bigoted rhetoric, policies, and violence.