Muslim candidates feel the effects of Trump’s attacks on Ilhan Omar.
Representative Ilhan Omar has faced an increase in death threats after President Donald Trump has stepped up rhetorical attacks against her.
The decision of President Donald Trump to defame the representative of Ilhan Omar (D-Min.) Has had real and damaging effects not only on the first member of Congress, but also on Muslim candidates who run for public office. local and national levels.
In March, Omar faced significant criticism, including from members of his own party, for commenting on Israel, which became anti-Semitic tropes. She apologized, but Trump and her allies used the tiebreaker to describe her, as well as the Democratic Party, as anti-Israel and anti-Jewish. In April, Trump tweeted a video claiming to dishonestly expose Omar by downplaying September 11th. He also continued to label her as anti-Semitic in his tweets and speeches.
Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, has seen an increase in death threats after all of Trump’s attacks. Her office said she “receives death threats daily, almost all threatening to kill her because of her religion.”
The consequences did not stop there. HuffPost spoke with five American Muslims running for election in Virginia this year in regional elections. Some of them saw an increase in the number of death threats following Trump’s attacks on Omar, noting that many of Omar’s allies claimed that the tumult had never really touched his voice, but that she had always much more to do with it. your religion
Others expressed disappointment that members of their own Democratic Party do not support the Congressman more strongly.
“When you look at Nancy Pelosi (the Speaker of the House) and everyone has reacted and did not support [Omar], and she’s sort of spread or pushed her to criticism, she’s really asks if minorities belong to a party, “said Abrar Omeish, who is running for the Democratic nomination to sit on the Fairfax County School Board.
Qasim Rashid, a Senate candidate for the state of Virginia, said the attacks did not deter him from running for office. “In fact, they encourage me to fight more convincingly for those values of justice and inclusion and pluralism that are lacking in our society,” he said.
Qasim Rashid, candidate for the Democratic primary in the 28th district of the Virginia Senate, received several death threats that the FBI was investigating. Most came by email before the Trump-Omar controversy, but also received others that were clearly related to Trump’s comments.
“Unfortunately, the rhetoric of the right gives power to very disturbed people to make very ugly threats,” Rashid said. “I live this and I know it’s probably still a fraction” of what Omar and his representative Rashida Tlaib (Michigan Democrat), the other Muslim woman elected to Congress in 2018, receive.
Ibrahim Moiz, Democratic nominee to the Loudoun County Council of Supervisors, said that without receiving death threats, his wife had suffered a heinous attack after Trump’s attacks on Omar, when someone approached in a local store.
“She went over and someone started shouting at her because she was wearing a headscarf,” Moiz said. “She got engaged to them because she’s a fighter, but luckily she stopped there.”
Ibrahim Ruiz, a candidate for the Loudoun County Supervisory Board, said his wife had been approached at a local store by someone who had shouted anti-Muslim remarks.
Discrimination against Muslim candidates did not start with Trump. For years, faced with the rise of a movement towards the Islamophobic right, American Muslims have been preparing to be anointed as terrorists, anti-Semites or members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In addition to threats of violence, Muslim candidates and politicians face deleterious and discriminatory assumptions and micro-aggression.
Omeish has discovered that he has to answer questions about his views on Middle East politics, although the question has little to do with his position in the Fairfax County School Board. She said that once, someone told her that she was happy not to be one of those “Muslims” who must pray on time, even if that’s the case, as her there was something incoherent between a devout Muslim and a modern liberal woman.
She said that although she expected the Muslim Brotherhood to brush against her, “I certainly did not anticipate ignorance and animosity that are unfounded, but I underestimated how much diversity and my minority have shaped how I think others think of how unscrupulous people can be in the way they behave or speak against me. “
Ibraheem Samirah, who won this year’s legislative election at the Virginia House, was greeted by anti-Muslim protesters at his first public meeting and asked him how he would apply Sharia law.
“I think it is unfair, unfortunate and unacceptable that we are in 2019 and that Muslims who stand for election or immigrants who stand for election, we all live the same,” said Yasmine Taeb, Democratic 35 Senate candidate from Virginia who received death threats for the first time after Trump’s rhetoric against Omar.
“It’s so frustrating for all Muslim candidates running for president: their opponent will simply consider them an anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli person,” he added.
However, Taeb, like all the other candidates who spoke to HuffPost, said he felt more energetic than ever before running for office.
“This is exactly the kind of attack that makes me realize that this is the reason why Muslim candidates should stand up and make sure our voices are heard,” said Hassan Ahmad, Democratic presidential candidate. . District 87 of Virginia House. Abmad, an immigration lawyer, rushed to Dulles International Airport in 2017 to help those affected by Trump’s travel ban to people from Muslim-majority countries.
Wael Alzayat is the CEO of Emgage PAC, an organization that supports the civic engagement of Muslims and supported the five candidates who spoke to HuffPost. He said that he had seen more interest in running for office after 2018 and that the President’s attacks incited people to get involved.
“Anecdotally, I think what’s happening is that the more they attack it, the more they attack Rashida and others like them, it’s pushing the community to bend and say, ‘No, it’s not.’ is our space, to run, let’s vote, we will be involved, “said Alzayat.” In any case, it motivates people even more. “
“It’s the responsibility of my generation, the second-generation Americans, to make sure we leave,” said Moiz, “and to bridge the ignorance gap without knowing who Muslims are, what they believe what they hold … and then shoot that barrier just to be everywhere around. “