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Omar responds to family of 9/11 victim who called her out at anniversary ceremony

The Hill logo The Hill 9/15/2019 Zack Budryk
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Video by CBS News

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Sunday responded to a family member of a 9/11 victim who called her out on the anniversary of the attacks, saying she intended to highlight civil rights violations.

"9/11 was an attack on all Americans. It was an attack on all of us, and I certainly could not understand the weight of the pain that the families of the victims of 9/11 must feel," Omar said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

"It's important for us to make sure that we are not forgetting the aftermath of 9/11, [when] many Americans found themselves now having their civil rights stripped from them, and so what I was speaking to was that as a Muslim, not only was I suffering as an American who was attacked on that day, but the next day I woke up as my fellow Americans were now treating me as suspect," she added.

Nicholas Haros Jr., whose mother died in the World Trade Center, gave a speech on the anniversary last week while wearing a shirt with the words "Some people did something," a reference to comments Omar made to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Haros also singled out Omar, saying, "'Some people did something,' said a freshman congresswoman from Minnesota. ... Today I am here to respond to you exactly who did what to whom."

In her remarks, Omar said the fight for Muslims' civil rights in the wake of the attacks was necessary because "some people did something" and "all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties." Omar was excoriated for the comment on the right by people accusing her of minimizing the attacks, and death threats against her spiked.

Asked by CBS's Margaret Brennan on Sunday if she had been asked to tone down her rhetoric, Omar responded, "Some people would say, 'Ilhan you should speak a certain way, Ilhan, you should do something a certain way,' and I believe that's contradictory to the purpose of my existence in this space."

"I believe that my constituents sent me to make sure that I was bringing in a conversation that others weren't having, that I was speaking for people who have felt voiceless for a long time," she added.

Ilhan Omar wearing a hat: Omar responds to family of 9/11 victim who called her out at anniversary ceremony © Aaron Schwartz Omar responds to family of 9/11 victim who called her out at anniversary ceremony
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