Rep. Ilhan Omar is a name that has sparked much controversy since her election to the House of Representatives in 2018. Omar was first widely praised for being the first Somali-American to serve in Congress as well as one of two Muslim women elected to Congress. She later faced backlash over her views on Israel and has been accused of being anti-Semitic. Most recently, Omar has faced controversy over her speech at a CAIR event, during which she stated that "some people did something" regarding the events of 9/11. Donald Trump responded to this statement on Twitter, posting a video repeating Omar's words over footage from 9/11.
Taking a look at the replies to this tweet is enough to understand just how Trump's response influences his supporters as well as others who may see the video. His tweet has inspired a storm of very blatant Islamophobia: among these replies are images of Ilhan Omar over a background of photos from 9/11, tweets associating Omar with ISIS, and condemnations of the Quran and Islam as a whole, using either out-of-context quotes or simply false information to support these claims. Whether or not you support Ilhan Omar, it is not difficult to see how harmful Trump's tweet can be to the Muslim community.
His tweet only encourages Islamophobia and potential violence against Muslims in the United States.
The statement taken from Omar's speech is also only a minute portion of the entire speech, which is available on YouTube. Omar's speech focused on the association of all Muslims with terrorism - the response to Trump's tweet, in effect, only proves her point. Her statement that "some people did something" was taken extremely out of context.
Omar's intent was to highlight how 9/11, in particular, created a very hostile environment for all Muslims in the United States.
Her point was that all Muslim Americans faced consequences for the actions of a few, only due to the fact that the perpetrators of 9/11 claimed to share the same religion. Personally, I understand some of the outrage at her statement about 9/11, but I do not feel that Omar intended to diminish the events of 9/11. I understand her statement as diminishing the perpetrators' roles in the Muslim community, emphasizing that they are only a small fraction of the group and do not represent all Muslims.
Regardless of your feelings towards Omar's statement, it is clear that her quote was still taken out of context, and that the wave of Islamophobia directed towards her and all Muslim Americans is unwarranted. She has not, in any way, supported the actions of terrorists, nor has she tried to justify any of their actions. In fact, she even says later in the same speech that Muslims should speak out against members of their own community, stating, "... as Muslims, we are called on to stand up for justice and to speak the truth, even if it is against ourselves, our parents, and our close relatives."
Ilhan Omar is not a terrorist, and she does not deserve to be likened to one.
Donald Trump's tweet was both distasteful and irresponsible on his part. He took one line out of an entire 20-minute speech and used it to condemn Ilhan Omar, and, in effect, attack the Muslim community as a whole. Whether he intended to do so or not does not matter. What matters is that his portrayal of Omar's words will have an effect on people's views of not only Omar, but all Muslims in America. He is instigating Islamophobia and possible violence against Muslim Americans, and in the role of President, he has the platform to have a widespread impact on the environment that Muslim Americans must live in.