WASHINGTON – Ilhan Omar, who become the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker, said she was the victim of Islamophobic and sexist taunts from a Washington, DC, cab driver.
“On my way to our hotel, I got in a cab and became subjected to the most hateful, derogatory, Islamophobic, sexist taunts and threats I have ever experienced,” Omar wrote in a post on her Facebook account, Star Tribune reported on Wednesday, December 7.
The state representative-elect from Minneapolis, who was in the capital for attending policy training at the White House, said she took the taxi to return to her hotel, when the cabbie called her Isis.
“The cab driver called me ISIS and threatened to remove my hijab, I really wasn’t sure how this encounter would end as I attempted to rush out of his cab and retrieve my belongings.
“I am still shaken by this incident and can’t wrap my head around how bold being (sic) are becoming in displaying their hate toward Muslims.
“I pray for his humanity and for all those who harbor hate in their hearts,” the 34-year-old wrote her social media post.
Omar said she plans to file a report once she is back in Minneapolis, adding that she does not feel safe enough to say anything at the moment.
Akhilesh Menawat, a representative for Omar, said Wednesday afternoon that Omar is declining to say anything more because she wants to focus on the conference.
The 33-year-old Omar was born in Somalia before she fled to the US to escape civil war.
She stayed for four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before ultimately moving to the Somali-American neighborhood of Cedar-Riverside, where she has lived for nearly two decades and is currently director of policy initiatives at Women Organizing Women.
Though she is a Muslim, she ran a campaign grounded in progressive agendas predicated on standing up for all Americans, regardless of faith or lack thereof.