The name of the old Buddy Holly song is “Well…All Right” or “Well All Right,” but for purposes of clarity here, I’m alluding to it with the catchphrase “Well, alright.” That’s the Star Tribune’s approach to covering the omens of Omar in Stephen Montemayor’s Friday night special “On the edge of making history, Ilhan Omar confronts fresh wave of scrutiny*.”
I’ve added the asterisk for a footnote: “*But not by the Star Tribune.”
In the story Omar addresses two of the issues we have raised about her in her accustomed style. Here she addresses the question whether the question whether husband number 2 (married 2009, divorced 2017) is her brother:
Persistent claims she married a brother to help him gain citizenship, Omar tweeted this week, are the provenance of “fake journalists on bigoted blogs.”
“It’s really strange, right, to try to prove a negative,” Omar said in the interview. “If someone was asking me, do I have a brother by that name, I don’t. If someone was asking … are there court documents that are false … there is no truth to that.”
Montemayor returns to the question later in the story:
Local Republicans and conservative media are also repeating claims that first surfaced in 2016 that Omar’s ex-husband, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, was actually a brother she married to help gain citizenship, and that she later committed perjury in a divorce filing.
Omar, who was born in 1982, has three children with Ahmed Hirsi. The two married, she said, in their faith tradition in 2002, and briefly separated before she married Elmi in 2009. She has said they divorced in 2011 before Elmi, a British citizen, returned to London and Omar reunited with Hirsi that year. Omar and Hirsi legally married this year after Omar’s divorce with Elmi was finalized.
During an interview, Omar showed a reporter cellphone photos of documents from her family’s U.S. entry in 1995 after fleeing Somalia’s civil war. She declined to provide copies of the papers, which included refugee resettlement approval forms and identification cards, but they appeared to list her father, siblings and Omar by order of birth, with Omar as the youngest of seven children. No one named Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, who is three years younger than Omar, could be seen listed in the documents.
“For someone like me, who left a war-torn country at the age of 8, who got refugee status to come to America, where in the world am I finding a sibling 15 years, 20 years later to seek to do what people accuse me of?” Omar said.
Here Omar addresses her comments about Israel:
Omar has also recently addressed older tweets critical of Israel with members of the Fifth District’s large Jewish population. In 2012, as the Israeli military carried out an aerial campaign against rocket attacks by Hamas, she tweeted that Israel had “hypnotized the world” and referred to its “evil doings.” In a tweet earlier this year, in defense of those earlier remarks, she tweeted to a conservative critic that “Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews.”
Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, said Omar’s more recent statements opposing a movement to boycott Israel were encouraging but that “we remain deeply concerned” by tweets from before she decided to run for Congress.
Omar described attention to the tweets as an effort to “stigmatize and shame me into saying something other than what I believed. … I don’t think there is anyone who spends five minutes with me who does not clearly see where my values are and that I will advocate for them and defend them and their humanity always.”
For a young lady whose road has delivered her to the verge of election to Congress at age 36, Omar really has the victim card nailed down.
David Steinberg comments via Twitter.
Your reporter did not ask why Ilhan, in 2016, told a reporter to correct seven siblings to five? https://t.co/eJM9JWCsjI
And you published it on Friday night? Why bother pretending you care about informing your paying customers?
I will be doing your job again this Tuesday. https://t.co/UNBthqfRXm
— David Steinberg 🧔🏻 (@DavidSPJM) October 27, 2018
We’ll return to this story next week.