Ilhan Omar: The Fast Facts That May Surprise You

Ilhan Omar: The Fast Facts That May Surprise You

Ilhan Abdullahi Omar, a member of the Democratic Party, has been serving as the U.S. representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district since 2019. Before her current role in Congress, she represented part of Minneapolis in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2017 to 2019. Her congressional district encompasses all of Minneapolis and portions of its first-ring suburbs. Ilhan Abdullahi Omar was born on October 4, 1982.

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Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Here are some more facts about Omar that may surprise you:

1. She Spent Four Years In A Refugee Camp

Ilhan Omar’s time in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya was a result of the protracted conflict and civil war in Somalia. 

The Somali Civil War began in 1991 following the overthrow of President Siad Barre’s government, and it subsequently led to a state of lawlessness, instability, and violence in the country. The conflict was characterized by multiple armed groups, clan-based militias, and a lack of central authority.

Ilhan Omar and her family were among the many Somali refugees who were forced to flee their homes due to the violence and chaos in their homeland. They sought refuge in neighboring Kenya, where the Dadaab refugee camp became their temporary home. Dadaab is located in northeastern Kenya and has long been one of the largest refugee camps in the world.

The conditions in the camp were challenging, with limited access to basic amenities, education, and employment opportunities for refugees. While in Dadaab, Ilhan Omar and her family faced the hardships and uncertainty that come with being displaced from their home country.

2. She Was Investigated For Marrying Her Brother

In 2020, reports surfaced that the FBI was investigating Representative Ilhan Omar for marrying her brother in order to ease his immigration to the U.S., according to the New York Post.

 Two agents interviewed a source in Minnesota who provided documents related to the marriage. 

 The investigation was focused on whether Omar married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, a British citizen who is rumored to be her brother, to obtain a Green Card for Elmi. 

Ilhan Omar has denied these allegations.

Her marital history includes an engagement to Ahmed Hirsi in 2002, whom she married in a Muslim ceremony although she has stated they were not legally married.

Omar divorced Hirsi and later married Elmi. According to sources, she lived with Elmi and her two children from Hirsi for two years.

Omar and Elmi separated in 2011, and in 2012, the Omar reconciled with Hirsi, with whom she had a third child. 

Notably, it wasn’t until 2017 that Omar initiated her divorce from Elmi. Shortly after that, she legally married Hirsi, just in time for her swearing-in to office in 2018.

3. She Had An Affair With And Married Her Political Consultant

Months after divorcing her on again, off again husband Hirsi, Ilhan Omar married her political consultant Tim Mynett, the founder of E Street Group who reportedly met Omar while working for her. 

Beth Mynett, Tim Mynett’s wife, filed for divorce, alleging the affair and revealing a “shocking declaration of love” from her husband for the Minnesota congresswoman, according to the AP. 

The financial link between Omar’s campaign and Mynett’s firm also drew attention, as her campaign was his firm’s most significant source of income, surpassing $523,000 in the 2020 election cycle.

4. She Is A Member Of The “Squad”

“The Squad” is an unofficial term for a group of six progressive members of the United States House of Representatives who were elected in the 2018 and 2020 Congressional elections. The Squad includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman from New York, Ilhan Omar from Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley from Massachusetts, Cori Bush from Missouri, and Rashida Tlaib from Michigan. All members are Democrats, people of color, and were under 50 years old when elected. The Squad is known for reflecting the diversity of a younger political generation inspired by Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign. 

The name “The Squad” was coined by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2018, referring to the original group of four members.

The Squad has faced accusations of anti-Semitism from conservative news outlets and individuals.

5. Ilhan Omar Was Banned From Visiting Israel

In 2019, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu banned Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories, according to the NPR. 

The congresswomen have been outspoken critics of the Israeli government and have voted against a nonbinding resolution condemning a Palestinian-led movement that calls for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions in Israel. 

Israeli law prohibits visits by individuals who support the global boycott movement against Israel. 

President Trump had previously targeted these congresswomen with accusations of being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, tweeting, “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”

Since the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas terrorists, Omar has been vocal in her opposition to the Biden administration’s support of Israel and its defense calling for a ceasefire in the war. 




Rachel Emmanuel

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