WATCH: Trish Regan does not hold back on what should happen to Rep. Ilhan Omar
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) being on the cover of Vogue Arabia raised a few eyebrows after causing controversy by several multiple difference episodes of making anti-Semitic remarks.
Not only was it surprising she got on a cover because of her remarks, but it was surprising what she said about wearing the hijab.
“To me, the hijab means power, liberation, beauty, and resistance,” she argued.
Many women in countries like Iran, however, are forced to wear it, and arrested or face punishment for not wearing it. They might not see it quite the same way.
But that wasn’t the only controversial remark she made in the interview with Vogue Arabia.
During the interview she attacked America and President Donald Trump.
She spoke of how she fled her country as a refugee during the Somali civil war in 1991, then stayed in a refugee camp in Kenya for four years, before coming to the United States.
“It was the first time that all of the identities I carried and had pride in, became a source of tension,” she recalls. “When you’re a kid and you’re raised in an all-black, all- Muslim environment, nobody really talks to you about your identity. You just are. There is freedom in knowing that you are accepted as your full self. So the notion that there is a conflict with your identity in society was hard at the age of 12.”
An odd comment, since were killing each other for their identity on opposite sides in the Somali civil war, something not happening in this country.
She then claimed that living in “President Trump’s America” was an “everyday assault.”
As the US representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, one of Omar’s policies includes promoting and establishing a just immigration system; something that is at odds with the current political climate in the country. “It’s challenging,” she says of living in President Trump’s America, where her status and heritage is constantly criticized. “It’s an everyday assault. Every day, a part of your identity is threatened, demonized, and vilified. Trump is tapping into an ugly part of our society and freeing its ugliness. It’s been a challenge to try to figure out how to continue the inclusion; how to show up every day and make sure that people who identify with all the marginalized identities I carry, feel represented. It’s transitioning from the idea of constantly resisting to insisting in upholding the values we share – that this is a society that was built on the idea that you could start anew.
And the U.S. welcomed her and her family in, voting her into the state legislature and then the House of Representatives.
America has given her a platform and the power to do and say anything she wants, something that she would be unable to do in many other countries. Her home country, however, while she was safely here, was determined to be one of the worst places in the world to be a woman.
Here’s what the then-minister for women’s development and family welfare, Maryam Qasim, said said about the country in 2011.
“I’m completely surprised because I thought Somalia would be first on the list, not fifth,” said Maryan Qasim.
The lawless country has been engulfed in conflict for 20 years. But the greatest risk to women’s lives is not war but birth. One woman dies for every 100 live births, according to U.N. figures — one of the highest rates in the world.
“The most dangerous thing a woman in Somalia can do is to become pregnant,” Qasim said. “When a woman becomes pregnant her life is 50-50 because there is no antenatal care at all … There are no hospitals, no healthcare, no nothing.”
But Qasim described Somalia as a “living hell” for women struggling to feed their children amid war and drought.
The constant risk of getting shot or raped, the lack of education and healthcare and practices like female genital mutilation make women’s lives unbelievably hard, she said.
All this was compounded by Islamist rebels including Al Shabaab who wanted to impose their version of sharia law on the country, according to Qasim.
But it’s an “everyday assault” and a challenge to live in America?