Ilhan Omar named “American Muslim public official of 2021” by CAIR

(RNS) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations recognized U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., As its “2021 U.S. Muslim Public Official” at the organization’s annual banquet on Saturday, December 4. The virtual event brought together a number of Muslim activists and three members of Congress.

In her acceptance speech, Omar acknowledged that it had been a “very difficult week” as the political feud between her and Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., Continued to make headlines after a Video clip featuring Boebert making derogatory remarks about Omar was posted on November 25 on Twitter.

In the clip, Boebert, who appears to be speaking to a crowd at a campaign event, describes standing in an elevator with Omar when a Capitol Police officer ran towards them. “Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine, ”Boebert said, eliciting laughter from the crowd. “And I said, ‘Oh listen, the jihad team decided to report to work today. “

The repression was rapid and Boebert later tweeted an apology “to all members of the Muslim community whom I have offended with my comment on Representative Omar”. The two representatives spoke to each other on November 29, but Omar abruptly ended the strained phone call after saying Boebert refused to apologize directly to her.

“When a sitting member of Congress calls a colleague a member of the jihad squad and falsifies a story to suggest that I am going to blow up the Capitol, it is not just an attack on me, but on millions of people. American Muslims across the country. Omar said at a press conference the next day. “We cannot claim that this hate speech by prominent politicians has no real consequences. “

Omar, one of three Muslims currently in Congress, is pushing for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold a vote removing Boebert from his committee assignments.

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“For too long, rhetoric like that of Lauren Boebert has been an integral part of our political discourse in the United States and around the world,” said Omar during his acceptance speech at the CAIR banquet.

Boebert’s example, said Omar, is one of the many reasons she is pushing for the creation of a global envoy for Islamophobia. Omar promised in his remarks that his bill on the matter would soon go to the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.

In October, Omar, along with his colleague Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Introduced the Combating International Islamophobia Act, which would require the State Department to choose a special envoy to monitor and combat Islamophobia through the world, similar to the United States’ special envoy. to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, created in 2004.

Two of Omar’s colleagues in Congress also spoke at the event – Andre Carson, D-Ind., Who presented the award, and Cori Bush, D-Mo.

“What we are witnessing today is dangerous anti-Muslim racism, not only from the most white supremacist elements in society, but also from other members of Congress,” said Bush, nurse. graduate and ordained pastor who has been active in the Black Lives Matter movement. .

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Bush also praised the joint work between Muslim communities and other minority groups in building a “just future” and “liberation”.

CAIR is made up of a number of constituent chapters across the country, and the annual banquet recognized a handful of CAIR regional chapters, including in Austin, Texas; Oklahoma; Pittsburgh; and Washington.

The CAIR chapter responsible for the Sacramento Valley and Central Valley in California has been recognized for its rapid growth, having tripled its staff in 2021. The chapter center is expected to include a new theater, café and other facilities, built in part to serve an expected increase in Muslim refugees, as Northern California is expected to host more Afghan refugees than any other region in the United States.

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