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Ilhan Omar of dismissing 9/11 attacks

16 April 2019

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar says she has experienced an increase in death threats in the days since President Donald Trump posted a video critical of her comments about the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Trump to take the video down and made sure Omar had enough security to combat the increase in threats.

Ms Omar, a Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota, has been at the center of an escalating row following a speech she made about Islamophobia in which she was accused by conservatives of downplaying the deadliest attacks on USA soil by characterising the event as "some people did something".

Sanders was referencing a previous controversy sparked by Omar speaking out against the influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobby group in USA politics.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders speaks during a press briefing at the White House on March 11, 2019, in Washington.

Supporters of Rep. Ilhan Omar are urging Facebook and Twitter to suspend President Trump's accounts after the president posted a video attacking the Minnesota Democrat. 'We can no longer ignore that they are being encouraged by the occupant of the highest office in the land'. I'll put a bullet in her (expletive) skull'.

"The President's words weigh a tonne, and his hateful and inflammatory rhetoric creates real danger", she said in a statement while travelling in London. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) were among those who released strong statements standing with Omar and condemning the unsafe right-wing attacks. But, she says, "no matter how much we have tried to be the best neighbor, people have always worked on finding a way to not allow for every single civil liberty to be extended to us".

The video in Mr Trump's tweet included a snippet from a recent speech Ms Omar gave to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in which she described the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre as "some people did something", along with news footage of the hijacked airplanes hitting the World Trade Centre in New York City.

Trump captioned his tweet with: 'WE WILL NEVER FORGET!'

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Republican critics said that her comment "some people did something" was offensive to the almost 3,000 Americans killed in the attacks.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders noted that then-President George W. Bush, a Republican, went to a mosque after 9/11 to assure Muslim Americans that they are not criminals and terrorists.

Neither Trump's tweet nor the video included Omar's full quote or the context of her comments.

In the latest incident, Trump posted a video to his 60 million Twitter followers that used a short snippet of an Omar speech followed by images of the burning Twin Towers in NY in 2001. "It has to stop", she said. It remained lower in the feed after Pelosi requested that the video be pulled. She won't back down to Trump's racism and hate, and neither will we. And they were doing it hypocritically, since this is the kind of thing each side tends to hate when the other side does it.

Other Omar critics have focused exclusively on that one single line, accusing her of trivializing the inhumanity of September 11 but not mentioning the rest of her speech.

Referring to her previous controversial comments, in which Ms Omar questioned USA support for Israel, Ms Sanders added: "It's absolutely abhorrent the comments that she continues to make and has made and they look the other way". The next day, Trump criticized the Minnesota Democrat during a speech to a conservative Jewish group, declaring that Omar "doesn't like Israel".

Friday's tweet wasn't the first attack by Trump on Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.

"I have had some problems with some of her other remarks, but not - but not with that one", he said.

Ilhan Omar of dismissing 9/11 attacks