She burst on the scene last August when she upset a 44-year incumbent Democrat in the Minnesota state primary elections to become the nation’s first female Muslim state legislator.
Ilhan Omar, the 34-year-old community organizer who came to America as a refugee from Somalia, was touted by Democrats as a model success story.
“From a refugee camp to the State Capitol with intelligence and insight,” beamed former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who endorsed Omar. “This is a wonderful story to tell as Americans, and a great source of pride for the state of Minnesota’s open arms.”
But on Thursday Omar made her mark in another way.
She was one of only two members of the Minnesota State House to vote against a bill that would allow life insurance companies to deny payouts to the beneficiaries of terrorists who die in violent attacks on Americans.
The House voted 127-2 to pass the bill, which now moves on to a vote in the State Senate.
Omar, who represents the heavily immigrant Cedar Riverside area of Minneapolis, was joined by fellow Democratic Rep. John Lesch of St. Paul in voting against the bill.
Omar’s vote sticks out because at least 42 Somali refugees have been confirmed by the FBI to have left the U.S. to join overseas terrorist organizations, including al-Shabab, the al-Qaida affiliate in Somalia, and ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
Dozens of other Somali-Americans have been tried and/or convicted of providing material support to overseas terrorists.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul area is home to the nation’s largest Somali refugee community, with other significant Somali communities in St. Cloud, Willmar, Owatonna, and Austin, Minnesota. Somali refugees are also concentrated in Columbus, Ohio; Seattle; Atlanta; San Diego; Fargo, North Dakota; and in smaller cities across Colorado, Maine, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and Texas.
Omar is a strong supporter of LGBTQ rights, abortion rights and a champion of environmental justice.
Before she was elected she was an activist who often lobbied the Minneapolis City Council on progressive issues.
Since her election as a legislator she:
- Opposed a bill to limit mass protests designed to disrupt streets, train service and airport access.
- Has been given her own Muslim Barbie icon, the “Hijarbie.”
- Visited her native Somalia to push for women’s leadership, raising the question of why Somali “refugees” are still pouring into the U.S. and other Western countries if the country is safe enough for former refugees to return and lobby the government for pet causes.
- Traveled to Washington, D.C., in December for a reported White House visit when she made a Facebook post complaining about a cab driver who taunted her with “sexist and Islamophobic” comments. She said he threatened to pull off her hijab and called her “ISIS,” yet she never filed a police report. In response to an inquiry on her Facebook page, Omar said she planned to file a report once she returned to Minneapolis, adding that she did not feel safe enough to say anything at the moment. The reply did not say whether the report would be with police, the cabdriver’s employer or possibly a civil rights organization.
Ilhan Omar has aleady been honored with her own “Hijarbie,” a project by a Nigerian Muslim woman.
The Minnesota insurance bill was introduced by Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, in response to Syed Farook’s jihadist rampage in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015 in which he shot and killed 14 people and injured 22 at an office Christmas party. Farook made sure his life insurance policies worth $275,000 were valid before conducting the deadly shooting with help from his wife, Tashfeen Malik.
After Farook died in a shootout with police, his mother fought to remain the beneficiary of the life insurance policies. The insurance company balked and the case has gone to court.
Democratic Rep. Debra Hilstrom said the goal of the Minnesota bill “is to make certain that folks don’t benefit [from terrorism] and this limits the beneficiary to the premiums that were paid in. It limits the exposure for the insurance company when someone is committing an act of terrorism.”
Debra Anderson, leader of the ACT For America chapter in Minnesota, praised the legislators who voted for the bill Thursday.
“U.S. life insurance policies that pay out to the families of terrorists reminds me of Muslim regions, such as Palestine, that also make ‘life insurance’ payments to the families of jihadists who kill in the name of Allah.”
Anderson said Omar’s vote was reprehensible and shows where her allegiances lie.
This incident also clearly demonstrated the legitimate concerns of freedom-loving Americans regarding increased political access by Muslims who exhibit an obvious allegiance to Muslims and Shariah law rather than all Americans and the U.S. Constitution.
“I am very grateful for the astute, courageous legislators who are looking out for the best interests of all Minnesotans.”…