Omar defends, clarifies 9/11 comment after victim’s son criticizes her

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar defended a controversial comment about the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks after the son of one victim said he was offended by her words.

In an appearance on CBS Sunday Morning, the Minneapolis Democrat did not offer a direct answer when asked if she understood why victims’ families were troubled by her comments. During a speech in March, Omar had described the terrorist attacks as “some people did something.”

“What I was speaking to was the fact 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,” Omar said in the interview.

Omar’s March comment has become fodder for President Donald Trump and Republicans, who are trying to link virtually every Democrat running for office to Omar’s controversies. Through a spokesman, Omar did not respond to questions from FOX 9 about the issue on Monday.

Last week, during a 9/11 memorial ceremony, Nicholas Haros, Jr., wore a T-shirt with the words “some people did something” written on it.

“We are here today, congresswoman, to tell you and ‘the Squad’ just who did what to whom,” Haros said. “The Squad” is how Omar and three other female freshman Democrats in Congress have referred to themselves.

Haros, whose mother died in the terrorist attacks, said Omar needed to show more respect to 9/11 victims’ families.

“On that day, 19 Islamic terrorists, members of al Qaeda, killed over 3,000 people and caused billions of dollars in economic damage. Is that clear?” Haros said during the ceremony.

The controversy dates to a speech Omar gave to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, in California.

During the speech, the congresswoman said Muslim-Americans are not recognized as “fully human” and said “every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it.”
“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.

CAIR was started in the 1990s, not after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Asked on CBS this weekend about the issue, Omar said 9/11 was an attack against all Americans and that she could not understand the pain that victims’ families feel.

“But I think it is really important for us to make sure that we are not forgetting, right, the aftermath of what happened after 9/11,” she said. “Many Americans found themselves now having their civil rights stripped from them.”

Jeremy Slevin, Omar’s spokesman, said the congresswoman would not be making “new statements” on the controversy Monday in response to a FOX 9 emailed request that included three questions for Omar.

He said Omar’s March comment had been taken out of context. Omar has previously said that President Trump and Republicans’ criticism has incited violence and death threats against her, requiring her to have a security detail.