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Omar sparks controversy over comments on 9/11, Muslim civil rights

Image: Ilhan Omar
Rep. Ilhan Omar on Capitol Hill on March 12, 2019, during a hearing on the fiscal year 2020 budget. -
Susan Walsh AP file
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Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., finds herself embroiled in another controversy after a comment she made about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Muslim civil rights.

Speaking last month at an event hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Los Angeles chapter, Omar mistakenly said the organization was founded in response to the terrorist attacks, adding "because they recognized that some people did something" — a phrasing that conservative media have interpreted as a too-flippant reference to the attack.

"CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties," Omar said.

It is unclear what Omar meant by the wording of her comment.

The remark was scorned by some on the right, including "Fox and Friends" co-host Brian Kilmeade and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas.

Kilmeade questioned Omar's loyalty to the United States on a "Fox & Friends" segment about the freshman Democrat, saying "you have to wonder if she's an American first."

Crenshaw called Omar's remark "unbelievable" on Twitter.

Omar, who has been subjected to death threats over her past controversial comments she has made about Israel, responded to Kilmeade on Twitter, saying he was guilty of a "dangerous incitement" for questioning her loyalty to America.

Fox News had no immediate comment about Kilmeade, the second Fox personality in a month to attract attention for comments about Omar. Fox condemned and suspended Saturday host Jeanine Pirro for two weeks after she wondered aloud whether Omar's use of a Muslim head covering indicated she was a follower of Islamic religious law.

"My love and commitment to our country and that of my colleagues should never be questioned," Omar said via Twitter on Wednesday. "We are ALL Americans."

Omar, along with Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., are the first Muslim women to serve in Congress.