Blog 4: Ilhan Abdullahi Omar

Ilhan Abdullahi Omar is a breaking barriers by being a Black Muslim American politician. In 2016, she was elected to serve the Minnesota House of Representatives and since 2019, she has been working as a USA representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district.

Born on October 4 in Mogadishu, Somalia, at the age of eight years old, Omar had no choice but to escaped the civil war in Somalia with her parents. She lived for about four years in a refugee camp in Kenya and then settled in the United States in 1977. Omar’s political interest started at the age of 14 when she had to interpret a local DFL caucuses for her grandfather. In her high school days, she was an organizer and a coalition builder. After, working at the University of Minnesota as a community educator, she began her journey as an activist in the DFL party. She eventually ran for office as mentioned earlier. During her advocacy work, she supports human rights, racial equality, climate change protection, education access, and many other important issues. 

It is safe to say that Omar’s dedication and work ethic speak for itself as being a true example of integrity, intelligence, and leadership. However what makes her an inspiration is not only her position of power but her being . The formal definition of inspirational is to influence people create toughs, feelings, or beliefs. To push it further, I also think that a person who emulates confidence in their belief, in themselves and in others is what being an inspiration stands for. Thereby, in her being an embodiment of one of the lowest hierarchical status of the country and still managing to be in such an important social and political space is a great inspiration and sign of refreshing change. She represent a feeling of hope, ambitions, and optimism. Omar’s strong convictions inspire and influence people to become a community that supports each other.

Moreover, she is inspirational because she stands against every type of controversial corruption such as Israelo-Palestine conflict, environmental pollution, the Yemen war, etc.  For instance, Omar advocates and pushes people to adopt to the Green New Deal, and to fight against Trump’s xenophobic Muslim Ban by introducing the No Ban Act. Despite, the enormous presence of Islamophobia, the support the United States provides for Israel, and the president’s racist comments, Omar keeps fighting against injustice.  Her strong convictions inspire and influence people to become a community that supports each other.

I think she does not get enough recognition for the important work she conducted. She also received many death threats because of her ethnic background, religion, and beliefs. For example, in 2014, Omar was sent to the hospital due to physical assault by unknown identities. However, she is constantly advocating against injustice and important affairs. She does not let these horrible acts stop her fight against inequalities which for me is one of the reasons she inspires me, and that I chose her.

Also, I relate to one of her inter-sectional discrimination that she goes through in her workplace and her daily life. We are similar in important ways such as our beliefs, our gender identity, and we are both Muslim women. We are different in the sense that she is a black American woman wearing the hijab. I am a Moroccan Canadian woman.

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