A Congresswoman who never becomes American
Decades after her naturalization, Ilhan Omar thinks she is still a refugee
On her Twitter profile, Ilhan Omar defines herself as a “mother, refugee and Congresswoman.” Since her naturalization, decades ago, Omar has led an impressively successful life in politics, making for herself a salary that is the size of the annual budget of some towns in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. She has even appeared on the cover of Vogue. Yet Omar still defines herself as a refugee.
Refugee is a temporary status given to people who are forced to flee their homeland and settle elsewhere. Once settled, they become citizens of their new country and lose their refugee status.
But Omar still hangs on to her temporary refugee status, as if she is not American yet. Why? Because she runs for Congress on victimhood, without which she has little to offer. For Omar to succeed, she has to make of identity politics her brand. Naturalizing and becoming just another American, proud of whatever heritage she and her parents had brought with them to America, sound too boring. Omar wants to stand out, and hence has to maintain her refugee status, even if not applicable anymore.
Omar’s knowledge of America’s founding literature can hardly be detected. Judging by her statements, Omar does not seem appreciative of the American republic that she has chosen as her refuge and, eventually, her home.
Omar is not alone. MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan, a British national, moved to America, and has since not wasted a moment without trashing every founding principle of the US, its political culture, its history, its foreign policy and nearly America’s very existent. In America, Mehdi has every right to trash whatever he wants, including the most sacrosanct principles of our republic. But why did Mehdi move to such a flawed country remains mind boggling.
Omar and Hasan do not seem to subscribe to the concept of sovereign nation states, as imagined in the European Westphalia agreement. Perhaps such European concept is too “colonial”, and therefore unequivocally evil, for their taste.
Instead, Omar and Hasan borrow from Marxism the view that the world is borderless. But whereas Karl Marx imagined the world as being divided along the lines of socioeconomic classes (workers vs capital owners), Omar and Hasan see the world as one divided along tribal lines. Omar and Hasan belong to the tribe of Islam, an imagined global community in which religion, Islam, is turned into a political ideology on life and government.
In intellectual circles, political Islam is known as Islamism, and is seen as a threat to the sovereignty of world governments.
Still, whenever anyone accuses Omar and Hasan of Islamism, they counter by crying Islamophobia, a flawed concept that assumes Muslims to be a distinct ethnic or cultural group. In reality, Islam is a religion spread along the largest territory around the world, from China, India and Russia to Iran, Turkey, the Arab countries, Africa and Europe.
Muslims hail from dozens of ethnicities and cultures, and their interpretation of their creed varies drastically between the different sects. As a Muslim-born Arab, I feel much more affinity toward Arab Jews and Arab Christians — with whom I share the Arabic language, similar taste in cuisine and music and similar mannerisms — than with African or Indian Muslims, with whose version of Islam I share little, and with whom I share nothing when it comes to language, culture, cuisine and mannerisms.
While Islam is an Arab religion, neither Omar nor Hasan are Arab. Neither one of them has spent enough time in a predominantly Muslim country, and yet, their world view is one about an imagined monolithic Islamic nation that has been the victim of White European colonialism.
But the Horn of Africa, where Omar’s Somalia is located, was rarely under European control, save for some 50 years in the past century. If anything, Somalia at times came under the rule of Arab Muslim empires. Historically, Arabs enslaved Africans in the Horn of Africa, over the span of millennia.
Muslim Indians too suffered more at the hands of non-Muslim Indians than European colonialism.
Omar and Hasan try to shroud themselves with an imagined immunity that they think their victimhood bestows on them. Once immune, they classify their rivals as radicals, and employ equally radical ideologies — such as the Critical Race Theory — to attack the rivals.
There is little about justice, fairness or humanity in the antics of Omar and Hasan… just old pathetic politics.