Rep. Ilhan Omar calls anti-Semitism and Islamophobia 'two sides of the same coin of bigotry'

Her remarks came after some conservatives, including Sen. Ted Cruz, attacked the freshman Democrat in the wake of the synagogue shooting on Saturday.
Image: Rep. Ilhan Omar Holds A Rally Demanding Democratic Leadership Censure President Trump Over Inciting Violence
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., addressed a crowd of more than 100 supporters Tuesday at an event at the Capitol organized by founders of Black Lives Matter. Win McNamee / Getty Images

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By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — Days after the shooting at a Chabad synagogue in California, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., laid blame on President Donald Trump and his allies for the “monsters” that are terrorizing the Jewish and Muslims communities and said anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are “two sides of the same coin of bigotry.”

“The occupant of the White House, as my sister [Rep.] Ayanna [Pressley] likes to call him, and his allies are doing everything that they can to distance themselves and misinform the public from the monsters that they created that is terrorizing the Jewish community and the Muslim community,” Omar said to a crowd of more than 100 supporters Tuesday at an event at the Capitol organized by founders of Black Lives Matter.

“Because when we are talking about anti-Semitism, we must also talk about Islamophobia; it's two sides of the same coin of bigotry,” she added. “Just this week, when we've had the attack in California on a synagogue, it's the same person who's accused of attempting to bomb a mosque. So I can't ever speak of Islamophobia and fight for Muslims if I am not willing to fight against anti-Semitism.”

Omar's remarks at the event, attended by activist and professor Angela Davis, come after she was criticized several times this year for making what many perceived as anti-Semitic remarks when speaking about Israel.

One of her comments prompted House Democrats to bring a resolution to the House floor condemning anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Omar's comments Tuesday also come after several conservatives, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, attacked her after a shooting on Saturday at a San Diego-area synagogue on the last day of Passover.

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Omar responded to Cruz, saying, "Shame on you."

One of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, Omar continued Tuesday to blast Trump for his “vile attacks” against her and other groups and said that his “demented views are not welcome here.”

“This is not going to be the country of the xenophobics," she said. "This is not going to be the country of white people. This is not going to be the country of the few. This is going to be the country of the many."

The congresswoman took a swipe at members of her own Democratic Caucus as well as Republicans in Congress and the administration, paraphrasing what she said was a comment from a “sister of mine” on TV, referring to Pressley.

“The thing that upsets the occupant in the White House, his goons in the Republican Party, many of our colleagues in the Democratic Party is that they can’t stand, they cannot stand, that a refugee, a black woman, an immigrant, a Muslim shows up in Congress thinking she’s equal to them,” Omar said.

Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., the other newly elected Muslim congresswoman, and freshman House member Pressley, D-Mass., also attended the event, which was billed as one in which they would demand that Democratic leaders Speaker Nancy Pelosi California and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York censure Trump for inciting violence.

While none of the lawmakers explicitly called for that, Tlaib and Pressley offered thinly veiled criticisms of Democrats.

“We can talk about the occupant in the White House, and we can talk about our colleagues on the other side of the aisle," Pressley said. “But I want to have a talk within our own family — my party family. Because I can’t sit idly by when we walk in contradiction and hypocrisy and go into our districts and affirm and lift up our commitments to the preservation of families and fighting for immigrants and refugees in our districts, but I can’t protect my sister in my own caucus.”

Tlaib added, “I’m telling you right now, Ilhan, no more apologies, no more policing, no more backing down.”

Omar said earlier this month that she has recently faced an increase in death threats, especially after Trump tweeted a video of comments she made in a speech last month about how Muslim Americans' civil rights were infringed upon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; in the video, those comments were spliced with images of the Twin Towers ablaze.

Republicans said Omar's remarks in the speech were dismissive of the 9/11 attacks.