‘Hands Off Ilhan’: Black Women Rally In Support Of US Congresswoman

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., walks to the chamber Thursday, March 7, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington, as the House was preparing to vote on a resolution to speak out against, as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, “anti-Semitism, anti-Islamophobia, anti-white supremacy and all the forms that it takes,” an action sparked by remarks from Omar. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

As one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar knew her historic term would be subject to critics’ visceral. In recent months, she has been a victim of Islamophobia and had her life threatened more than once. So on Tuesday when Black women from the Movement for Black Lives gathered at the Capitol Building in Washington to proclaim their support for her, Omar was moved to tears, reported the Middle East Eye.

The outspoken Somali-American from Minnesota came under fire in February for saying lots of U.S. leaders support Israel due to being paid by AIPAC, a Jewish lobbyist group. Many deemed the comments anti-Semitic, while others defended Omar. She still apologized.

That apology has not received by some. She’s been asked by Trump to resign from Congress, accused of misusing campaign funds and seemingly come under scrutiny every time she speaks. But Omar isn’t backing down on standing up for what she believes in.

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“The thing that upsets the occupant of the White House, his goons in the Republican Party [and] many of our colleagues in the Democratic Party … is that they can’t stand that a refugee, a black woman, an immigrant, a Muslim, shows up in Congress thinking she’s equal to them,” Omar said.

The women who gathered in defense of Omar agreed, saying “hands-off” and the “silencing of Black women” will no longer be tolerated.

“We are demanding that you trust black women, that you see black women, that you believe black women and honour us for the role that we have played as healers and preservers of this democracy and this nation,” said Rep. Ayana Pressly, the first Black woman from Massachusetts to be elected to Congress.