The curious case of Ilhan Omar is full of loose threads. The resolution of the case lies in these loose threads. They now hang in plain view awaiting the hand of some enterprising investigative reporter such as David Steinberg to sew them together. I mean this series as a continuing reproach to the putative profession of journalism in the matter of Omar, now a Democratic superstar.
The heart of the case is the relation between Omar and Ahmed Nur Said Elmi. Omar married Elmi in 2009, but she appears to have treated the marriage as a sham. She has refused to answer any questions about the marriage. She has simply stonewalled these questions since August 2016, when she formed a “crisis committee” to deal with the public relations issue the questions raised for her legislative campaign. See, for example, part 2 and part 4 of my series on Omar’s mixed-up files.
One conspicuously loose thread involves Omar’s siblings: how many does she have, who are they and is Ahmed Elmi one of them? As Preya Samsundar noted in this October 2016 story, she has sometimes said they are five in total, sometimes seven. The Star Tribune gives the total as seven. “In 2016,” Patrick Coolican and Patrick Condon report in their recent page-one story, “[Omar’s] campaign provided the names of six siblings, but only their first names, citing their need for privacy. Elmi was not among them.”
Coolican and Condon omit the first names of the six siblings Omar provided. They also note, however, “[s]ent a list of questions and a request to talk to her siblings and father, Omar declined to do so.”
Omar has never been forthcoming. She has at all times acted as if she has something to hide. Now we know that she was hiding the filing of joint tax returns in 2014 and 2015 with Ahmed Hirsi while she was legally married to Ahmed Nur Said Elmi.
When I started writing about Omar in August 2016, a knowledgeable Somali source reached out to me. We met then and several times since. The first time I met with him that August, he enumerated the names of Omar’s four siblings and her father, as he knew them, in his own handwriting:
1. Laylo or Leila Noor (Nur) Said Elmi [sister];
2. Mohammed Noor (Nur) Said Elmi [brother];
3. Sahra Noor (Nur) Said Elmi [sister];
4. Ahmed Noor (Nur) Said Elmi [brother].
He listed Omar as the fifth sibling under this name:
5. Ilhan Noor (Nur) Said Elmi.
He listed Omar’s father:
6. Noor (Nur) Said Elmi.
I have been unable to confirm this information, but Preya Samsundar separately confirmed it with the assistance of another Somali source in her 2016 Alpha News articles including the one linked above.