Celebrating Ilhan Omar Sends the Wrong Message


Aidan Morley, Staff Writer

Celebrating cultural heritage is an important part of the educational experience of all American students. This gives students a chance to learn about and celebrate the cultures of their fellow students in the hopes of cultivating unity and understanding throughout the school. 

Black History Month is no different. Schools, businesses, and political figures use this time to celebrate the accomplishments of inspiring African-Americans who have made invaluable changes through their works and efforts on a wide range of topics. Unfortunately, one of the individuals Scituate High School has chosen to celebrate through a display in the library generates far more hate and intolerance

Ilhan Omar is a newly elected congresswoman from Minnesota’s Fifth District. A Somalian refugee, she was one of the first two Muslim women elected to U.S. Congress in 2018. However, she has also become notorious for another reason: her anti-semitism. Both before and after taking office in January 2019, Omar has been the subject of numerous anti-Semitic comments and controversies.

In 2012, Omar tweeted: “May Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” Of course, statements such as these are commonly rationalized as a mere critique of the Israeli government, not Jewish people as a whole. However, her continued anti-Semitic comments make it clear that her hatred for the Jewish state goes far beyond the government. She would later tweet, “Israel has hypnotized the world,” playing on the common trope that Jewish people can hypnotize people so they may remain in power across the globe. 

These remarks haven’t stopped since Omar took office either, almost appearing to be a monthly occurrence: make an anti-Semitic statement, potentially apologize and be shielded from ramifications by her party, and then do it all over again. In 2019 Omar tweeted, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” a clear reference to the stereotype about Jewish people being rich after house Republican leadership threatened action against Omar for another controversial tweet she had posted in the days prior. Her anti-Semitism was so bad that Democrats were obligated to put out an attenuated resolution denouncing anti-Semitism, refusing to refer to her directly by name  

In her short career in Congress thus far, Omar has greenlighted Palestinian and Jordanian terror groups of Hamas and Hezbollah as well as pushed for an anti-Semitic resolution to boycott Israeli interests–comparing it to boycotts of Nazi Germany during the second world war. 

In the U.S. we must all recognize Omar’s right to free speech under the First Amendment. However, if we wish to unite together to celebrate, Omar is certainly not the person people should look up to. It may be that the school had no idea of Omar’s record of hate and surely meant no malice, yet there are plenty of other talented young women of color who are everyday role models and diverse recognition for their actions. Take Amber Scott, for example. As a young woman she founded the Leap Year Project to help bridge the gap of education for low-income families by providing tutoring and confidence-building after high school to best prepare them for life after high school. Even athletes like Serena Williams and Simone Biles have helped close the gap for women in athletics by absolutely dominating on the world’s highest stage. 

With a record of disdain and intolerance like Omar’s, it’s surprising she has even been elected to Congress let alone celebrated during a time when students are supposed to learn and celebrate acceptance and love toward those who may be different from them. Going forward, one can only hope the school can choose those who unite rather than those who seek to hate and divide against other groups to bring students together to properly celebrate the magnificent accomplishments of inspiring African Americans who have changed this great nation for the better.