Host Brian Kilmeade’s chosen target, yet again, was Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. The show seized on a tweet yesterday by Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw which involved using an extremely dumb misinterpretation of her comments at a Council on American Islamic Relations event to question her commitment to this country. (Even though she’s literally a member of Congress).
Let’s take a closer look at what actually happened.
As the Guardian reported, the quote in question is from a speech Omar gave at CAIR last month. Taken together, her meaning is clear:
“Cair was founded after 9/11 because they recognised that some people did something, and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties,” Omar said. The remark was criticised by Crenshaw and others, who said Omar’s description minimised September 11 and its perpetrators.
But a video of Omar’s full speech shows that the disputed remark followed from comments only a minute earlier in which Omar did mention terrorism. She complained that Islam was discussed in schools only in relation to Muslim terrorists.
“It doesn’t matter how good you are if you, one day, find yourself in a school where other religions are talked about, but when Islam is mentioned, we are only talking about terrorists, and if you say something, you are sent to the principal’s office,” she said.
Here’s video of her full speech:
If it is not incredibly clear to you what Omar is saying—that the actions of a few extremists had an indelible effect on the way Muslims have been treated, portrayed, and stigmatized in the United States—then you are an idiot. She’s not minimizing 9/11, but rather describing the damage that “some people” did to the Muslim-American community as a whole.
Unfortunately, Kilmeade and Crenshaw are idiots looking to score bad-faith political points on their party’s preferred punching bag. Crenshaw started things up:
And then it got the Fox & Friends treatment this morning, with Kilmeade wondering out loud if Omar is “an American first.”
“So as a Muslim American, you should be more outraged because they sullied your religion,” he also said. “In the name of religion, they kill Americans and still do it on a daily basis.”
This is... exactly what Omar is outraged about! That the actions of a small minority of people have been taken as license for the bigoted masses to widely discriminate against all Muslims.
Crenshaw, of course, doubled down, because there are no apologies in the bad-faith culture wars, again singling out four decontextualized words of Omar’s entire speech.
The surreal part of this is the actions of a few don’t represent us all is the same argument that Republicans rely on every time far-right or white nationalists murder someone. Don’t lump us in with the Charlottesville white nationalist who killed a protester or the New Zealand far-right shooter, they say, but we’ll still gladly make sweeping judgements if the perpetrator behind an act of violence is brown.
Hate crimes against Muslims spiked dramatically after 9/11, and despite the idiotic outrage around incidents like the time alt-right postergirl Tomi Lahren got a drink tossed at her over brunch, rank and file Republicans have never known anywhere near the level of everyday discrimination Muslim Americans have. And they’re still feeling it—in 2016, the FBI reported more anti-Muslim assaults than it did in 2001. That, to me, is what’s “unbelievable.”