Under tremendous pressure and facing a well-funded Democratic primary challenger, freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D–MN) remains defiant. Over the past two years, she has emerged as a polarizing, national figure— an inspiring member of “the Squad” of progressive activists and young people of color, one of the first Muslim woman elected to Congress, and a mainstay on Fox News as a subject of fear, loathing and numerous anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.
In this interview, conducted last week and edited for clarity and length, she hits back, but not just at Republicans and their media channels, but also at Senator Chuck Schumer and Mark Zuckerberg, whom she blames for enabling the hate against her and Muslims. I followed up with her Wednesday morning, after Rudy Giuliani retweeted a 1978 photo, taken four years before Omar was born, that circulated on the right last August along with the claim that it showed the Congresswoman at a terrorist training camp in her native Somalia, and that she’d brought up in the course of our interview as an example of what’s wrong with Facebook.
Omar replied that “This is not normal. Unfortunately it’s not surprising that someone complicit in the president’s crimes would share such a false, Islamophobic post. I am now accustomed to the hate speech and death threats that flow from their reckless lies. What is surprising is that Twitter does nothing to crack down on the rampant misinformation and hate speech on their platform.”