In March, LU’s Ben Bowles reported on an interview given by now-Rep. Ilhan Omar in which she jokingly recalled having taken a “terrorism” course in college. She was never questioned during the exchange about her reasons for taking the course. But now a new segment from the same interview has emerged that raises even more questions about the most deeply held views of America’s most controversial member of Congress.
In it, The Jerusalem Post notes, she recalls being amused at the way in which the instructor said the name of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda. From the video, which follows:
…[E]very time the professor said “al Qaeda” his shoulders went up. Al Qaeda, you know, Hezbollah. … But you know… you don’t say “America” with an intensity, you don’t say “England” with an intensity. You don’t say “the Army” with an intensity. … But you say these names [of terrorist groups] because you want that word to carry weight. You want it to be something. …
The observation “You want it to be something” suggests that, in her view, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are no big deal. So al Qaeda in its heyday went around lopping off heads, pushing people off rooftops, and hatching an elaborate plot to murder 3,000 Americans — excuse me, arranging for some people to do something. What of it? Why would anyone enunciate the name of that group differently from America, England, or the U.S. Arm?
Note also the clear implication that the other groups named are no better than al Qaeda. She gives direct utterance to this suggestion elsewhere in the interview when she emphasizes that we in America commit our own acts of terrorism, but that when we do, no one’s “shoulders go up”:
When you have an individual … in a Western society … [who] commits mass murder — we have mass shootings that happen constantly here — we investigate that person and what has driven them to commit that act.
When an act is committed by … Muslim terrorists, what we investigate is that whole community, we investigate that whole faith, we investigate that whole society, and everyone is supposed to have some answer as to why these people are doing this.
It is those individuals that people need to be investigating, it is their lives that need to be under the microscope, not the lives of the whole community.
Her remarks are wrong on so many counts it’s hard to know where to begin a response. First, in every mass shooting, authorities conduct a thorough investigation into whether the attack was carried out by a lone wolf or some larger group, as has been the case in some acts of domestic terrorism (think the Oklahoma City bombing). Second, the assertion that the U.S. holds all Muslims accountable for acts of Islamic terrorism is absurd on its face. If there were any validity to it, Omar herself would be rotting in a Muslim internment camp rather than holding sway in the American public sphere.