The following Op-Ed was posted on Facebook today by Senator Oley Larsen, and The Minuteman Blog has decided to publish it in full as a courtesy to our readers.
Last weekend, I shared an erroneous image purportedly showing Congresswoman Ilhan Omar training as an Al-Qaeda fighter. Like most people, I’m not immune to confirmation bias and I have made the mistake of sharing something in poor taste on the internet. I’m sorry for spreading fake news. As an elected official, the public and the media are right to hold me to a higher standard. I’m willing to own my role in spreading misinformation but I will not be resigning any of my positions within the North Dakota State Legislature. Moving forward, I will do my best to thoroughly vet the information I share online.
However, I want to be clear, this is by no means an apology to Ilhan Omar. Although there is no evidence that she has directly engaged in terrorist activity, there is ample evidence that she is grossly sympathetic to the cause of certain religious extremists. As a Minnesota State Rep., Omar actively lobbied a judge to be lenient with two men convicted of terrorism and trying to join ISIS. Imagine if a white conservative representative wrote a letter advocating for less harsh sentences for Klansmen and white supremacists. The media and the public would be outraged and rightfully so. Luckily for Ilhan Omar, a complicit press dismissed this episode as an anti-Islamic conspiracy. Ms. Omar defended her position as restorative justice but has shown no interest in advocating on behalf for other racial and religious extremists, which is quite possibly the only silver lining to her farce.
Unfortunately, Ms. Omar’s questionable history doesn’t end with that particular event. Upon being elected to the U.S. House, she has drawn praise from infamous white supremacist David Duke for her anti-Semitic attacks on Israel (our closest ally in the war against terrorism) and drawn rebuke from many Jewish Americans. She trivialized the horrendous terror attack of 9/11, much to the offense of the survivors and their families. But her suspect behavior didn’t stop there. Omar has openly called for defunding the Department of Homeland Security (which she promptly walked back after being called out). Her rhetoric can be more easily likened to that of the Grand Ayatollah of Iran than that of an American congresswoman.
Some voices have called me racist, asserting that I believe all Muslims are terrorists. This absurd smear ignorantly conflates race and religion for the purposes of attacking me. As a Native American man, and enrolled member of Kluane First Nation, I’m well aware of the historic injustices faced by minority communities in our nation. However, Ilhan Omar openly seeks to undermine the interest and security of our nation and the media cowardly allows her to hide behind the facade of her protected class status. I’m strongly of the belief that most of the members of our Islamic communities are God-fearing patriots that seek to build up our country. In my opinion, Ilhan Omar is not one of them. I was wrong to call her a terrorist and spread misinformation about her. But the truth is more than sufficient. The aforementioned show a pattern of behavior by Ms. Omar that is just far too sympathetic to the people who wish us harm.