Ilhan Omar is the nation’s first Somali American legislator. She was elected in November by the voters of district 60B, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her electoral victory is historic, and like Omar herself, an inspiration.
That victory comes at a time of increasing harassment and abuse of America’s Muslim community. Today, Representative Omar posted this message to her Facebook page.
Omar comes from Minnesota’s Somali community, the largest in the US. The state has seen its share of violence and intimidation towards Muslims. Recently, a high school student in Coon Rapids had her hijab pulled from her head, and a 5th grade student threatened to shoot a 3rd grade Somali student and later brought an air pistol to school to make good. These kind of incidents are on the rise, with a sharp spike in hate crimes coming in the weeks after the election of Donald Trump.
Representative Omar’s experience in Washington, DC today is getting coverage because of her national profile, and rightly so. But it’s crucial to remember that Muslim men, women and children throughout the US face violence and abuse every day.