On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

Rep. Ilhan Omar won't let social media attacks derail her

Share story

Ilhan Omar shows her kids her desk.
DFL Rep. Ilhan Omar shows her three children her desk inside the House Chamber during the first day of the 2017-2018 Minnesota Legislature.
Evan Frost | MPR News file

"You and your people are a stain. Shame on you for taking advantage of America. You should return back. That's America and America law."

"Fake [expletive] lying Muslim. You are all of our nightmares. Go be Muslim in Middle East where it belongs."

"Why do you hate America and freedom?"

Those are a sample of some of the tweets and messages directed at state Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis, during her first term in the Minnesota Legislature.

Omar told MPR News the tweets are often directed at her identity as a woman, a refugee from Somalia or a Muslim.

"If these conversations were about a piece of legislation that I am working on then we can engage in debate about that," Omar said. "If it is about ideas that I have, we can have conversations about that. But my identity is not up for debate."

Omar said she's also learned not to let the hateful messages affect her. But she has reported some of the more threatening messages to Capitol police. One said, "Your family should have had an honor killing."

Omar responded, "There is no honor in killing. Luckily my family and faith taught me to love, not hate, so I will pray for you."

She said she refuses to live in fear.

"It is important for these people to know that their intentions of making me fearful or silencing me are not going to happen."