United States President, Donald Trump, had added his voice to wishing Muslims a happy Ramadan period as the faithful begin the period of fasting and worship.
The message has, however, elicited a response which raises issues with the content and wording. According to a US-Somali legislator, Ilhan Omar, Trump’s ‘tepid statement,’ was willfully ignorant and encouraging terrorism in parts.
The portion of Trump’s statement that seemed to irk the Minnesota lawmaker was in paragraph 3 where the commencement of Ramadan is linked to recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and Egypt.
To liken recent terrorist attacks as the scourge of young Muslims who reject peace is not only willfully ignorant, it creates the very environment in which extremism flourishes.
“This year, the holiday begins as the world mourns the innocent victims of barbaric terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom and Egypt, acts of depravity that are directly contrary to the spirit of Ramadan. Such acts only steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology,” the statement read.
In her response, Ilhan wrote: ‘‘… to liken recent terrorist attacks as the scourge of young Muslims who reject peace is not only willfully ignorant, it creates the very environment in which extremism flourishes and aligns with the presupposition of terrorist recruitment: “Westerners do not accept you and continue to trivialize your value. Instead of being a nobody, be a martyr”.
She advised that compassion and inclusion be embraced as the best solution to fanaticism, adding that ‘‘Bigotry is a product of ignorance and by educating people, we will move toward respect and understanding.’‘
She expressed hope at the end of her statement that one day the President will come to accept that “Muslims are not your enemy.”
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) 27 May 2017
Ilhan Omar: Brief on First US-Somali female legislator
Ilhan made history when she was voted the first Somali-American legislator in November last year. She was subsequently sworn into office as a Member of the House of Representatives to serve the people of Minnesota.
She is a policy analyst, coalition builder and community educator. She left Somalia due to the civil was then to Kenya before ending up in the US. Her Twitter bio describes her as ‘‘Intersectional feminist, mom’‘ and legislator.
She stood on the ticket of the Democratic Farmer Labour (DFL) – affiliated to the Democratic Party, in Minneapolis District, defeating the Republican opposition.
As a lawmaker in the Minnesota House of Representative for District 60B, her legislative area comprises parts of the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, southeast Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota.