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Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar (born October 4, 1981) is a Somali-American politician from Minnesota. In 2016, she was elected a Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party member of the

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Ilhan OmarMember-elect of the U.S House of Representatives from Minnesota’s 5th districtAssuming office
January 3, 2019SucceedingKeith EllisonMember of the Minnesota House of Representatives
from the 60B districtIncumbentAssumed office
January 3, 2017Preceded byPhyllis Kahn Personal detailsBorn (1981-10-04) October 4, 1981 (age 37)
Mogadishu, SomaliaPolitical partyDemocraticSpouse(s)Ahmed Hirsi (m. 2018)Children3EducationNorth Dakota State University (BA)WebsiteOfficial website

Ilhan Omar (born October 4, 1981)[1] is a Somali-American politician from Minnesota. In 2016, she was elected a Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, making her the first Somali-American legislator elected to office in the United States.[2] She is the Director of Policy and Initiatives of the Women Organizing Women Network.

Omar was the Democratic Farmer Labor nominee for U.S. Representative in Minnesota's 5th congressional district, having won the primary on August 14, 2018.[3]

  • 1 Early life and education
  • 2 Early career
  • 3 Minnesota House of Representatives
    • 3.1 Elections
    • 3.2 Tenure and political positions
    • 3.3 Committee assignments
  • 4 U.S. House of Representatives
    • 4.1 Elections
      • 4.1.1 2018
  • 5 Awards and honors
  • 6 Personal life
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links
Early life and education

Omar was born in on October 4, 1981[4] in Mogadishu and was raised in Baydhabo, Somalia.[5][6] She was the youngest of seven siblings. Ilhan's father, Nur Omar Mohamed, is a Somali, and worked as a teacher trainer.[7] Her mother was a Benadiri, and died when Omar was a child.[8] She was thereafter raised by her father and grandfather.[9] Ilhan's grandfather, Abukar, was the director of Somalia's National Marine Transport, with her uncles and aunts also working as civil servants and educators.[7] After the start of the civil war in 1991, she and her family fled the country and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya.[10] Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib

In 1995, Omar and her family emigrated to the United States, initially settling in Arlington, Virginia.[11] In 1995, they moved to Minneapolis, where Ilhan learned English in only three months. Her father and grandfather emphasized during her upbringing the importance of democracy, and she accompanied her grandfather to caucus meetings at age 14, serving as his interpreter.[9][8]

Omar attended Edison High School, and volunteered there as a student organizer.[4] She graduated from North Dakota State University[8] with bachelor's degrees in political science and international studies in 2011.[12][13][better source needed]

Omar was a Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.[13]

Early career Omar with John Sullivan in Paris as part of Minnesota's World's fair Bid Committee.

Omar began her professional career as a community nutrition educator at the University of Minnesota, working in that capacity from 2006 to 2009 in the Greater Minneapolis–Saint Paul area. In 2012, she served as campaign manager for Kari Dziedzic's reelection campaign for the Minnesota State Senate. Between 2012 and 2013, she was a child nutrition outreach coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Education.[13]

In 2013, Omar managed Andrew Johnson's campaign for Minneapolis City Council. After Johnson was elected, she served as his Senior Policy Aide from 2013 to 2015.[13] During a contentious precinct caucus that turned violent in February 2014, she was attacked by five people and incurred some injuries.[7] According to MinnPost, the day before the caucus, Minneapolis City Council member Abdi Warsame had told Johnson to warn Omar not to attend the meeting.[14]

As of September 2015, Omar is the Director of Policy & Initiatives of the Women Organizing Women Network.[13] The association advocates for women from East Africa to take on civic and political leadership roles.[15]

Minnesota House of Representatives Elections Omar at the Twin Cities Pride Parade in 2018

In 2016, Omar ran on the Democratic–Farmer–Labor (DFL) ticket for the Minnesota House of Representatives. Her chief opponent in the general election was Republican nominee Abdimalik Askar, also an activist in the Somali-American community. In late August, Askar announced his withdrawal from the campaign due to his graduate studies and the death of his father.[16]

On August 9, Omar defeated Mohamud Noor and incumbent Phyllis Kahn in the DFL primary.[17] Shortly after she won the nomination, the conservative blog Power Line questioned the legal status of her marriage vows and wedding license.[18] Omar described the allegations as "absolutely false and ridiculous".[19] According to her colleague Andrew Johnson, the story's timing suggested that its motive was to tarnish her image. Omar herself speculated that the allegations were planted by previously elected officials in her community and singled out Abdi Warsame, suggesting that he felt threatened by her growing political clout.[7]

In November 2016, Omar won the general election, becoming the first Somali-American legislator in the United States.[2] Her term began on January 3, 2017.[20]

Tenure and political positions

Omar is a "proud" democratic socialist.[21] Jeff Cirillo of Roll Call has called Omar a "progressive rising star."[22] She supports a $15 hourly minimum wage[23] and free tuition for college students whose family income is below $125,000 as well as greater accessibility to student loan forgiveness programs.[24] As of May 2018, she had authored 38 bills, though none have been passed into law.[25] She is an Assistant Minority Leader for the DFL caucus.

Omar has been critical of the actions of the Israeli government, referring to it as "the apartheid Israeli regime,"[26] asserting that Israel has "hypnotized the world" to overlook the aerial bombardment of civilians, which she characterized as "evil doings,"[27] recommending that the University of Minnesota divest from Israel bonds, and criticizing a law intended to prohibit the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Accused of antisemitism by a few right-wing critics, she has responded that her criticism of some of the Israeli government's actions in no way implies hatred of Jewish people: “These accusations are without merit,” she said. “They are rooted in bigotry toward a belief about what Muslims are stereotyped to believe.”[26] At an August candidates forum held in a synagogue during the last week of the 2018 primary campaign, she said a boycott of Israel is not helpful in working toward a two-state solution, and that "it is going to be important for us to recognize Israel's place in the Middle East and the Jewish people's rightful place within that region."[27]

Committee assignments
  • Civil Law & Data Practices Policy
  • Higher Education & Career Readiness Policy & Finance
  • State Government Finance[28]
U.S. House of Representatives Elections 2018 Main article: United States House of Representatives elections in Minnesota, 2018 § District 5

On June 5, 2018, Omar filed to run for U.S. Representative from Minnesota's 5th congressional district after Representative Keith Ellison announced that he would not seek reelection.[29] On June 17, she was endorsed by the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party after two rounds of voting.[30] She won the August 14 primary.[31] She faces health care worker and conservative activist Jennifer Zielinski in the November 6 general election.[32] If elected, she and former Michigan state representative Rashida Tlaib will become the first Muslim women elected to the United States House of Representatives.[33]

Awards and honors

In 2014, Omar was named a rising star in the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party's Women's Hall of Fame.[13]

She received the 2015 Community Leadership Award from Mshale, an African immigrant media outlet based in Minneapolis. The prize is awarded annually on a readership basis.[34]

In 2017, Time Magazine named Omar among its "Firsts: Women who are changing the world", a special report on 46 women who broke barriers in their respective disciplines, and featured her on the cover of its September 18 issue.[35] Her family was named one of the "five families who are changing the world as we know it" by Vogue in their February 2018 issue featuring photographs by Annie Leibovitz.[36]

The 2018 documentary film Time for Ilhan, directed by Norah Shapiro, chronicles Omar's political campaign.[37] It was selected to show at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Mill Valley Film Festival.

Personal life

Omar is Muslim[15] and belongs to the Majeerteen clan from Northeastern Somalia. She is distantly related to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the first Somali member of parliament of a European country.

In 2002 Omar became engaged to marry Ahmed Hirsi (né Ahmed Aden). They applied for a marriage license, but the application was not finalized. The pair had two children together before separating in 2008. In 2009, Omar married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, a British citizen. In 2011, she and Elmi had a faith-based divorce,[38] and in 2017 the two were legally divorced.[39] In 2011, she reconciled with Hirsi, and they were married in a traditional ceremony, despite still being legally married to Ahmed under state law.[18] They had a third child in 2012, and in 2018 they were legally married.[40] Omar, Hirsi, and their three children live in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis.[15]

  1. ^ Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL-MN)
  2. ^ a b Blair, Olivia (November 9, 2016). "Ilhan Omar: Former refugee is elected as America's first Somali-American Muslim woman legislator". The Independent. London. Retrieved November 9, cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  3. ^ Bierschbach, Briana; Bakst, Brian; Pugmire, Tim (June 5, 2018). "Filing deadline drama: Rep. Omar jumps into race for Congress". Minnesota Public Radio. St. Paul, Minnesota.<O> In the 2018 midterm elections, Omar was elected to the United States House of Representatives, representing the 5th district of Minnesota. She is the first Muslim-American woman to be elected to congress, alongside Rashida Tlaib.
  4. ^ a b Duarte, Lorena (October 21, 2015). "'Done Wishing': Ilhan Omar on why she's running for House District 60B". MinnPost. Minneapolis. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  5. ^ Reinl, James (November 15, 2016). "Ilhan Omar: First female Somali American lawmaker". Al Jazeera. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  6. ^ Omar, Ilhan (June 16, 2016). "Questions from a 5th grader". Neighbors for Ilhan. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d Zurowski, Cory (November 7, 2016). "Ilhan Omar's improbable journey from refugee camp to Minnesota Legislature". City Pages. Minneapolis: Star Tribune Media Company. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Omar, Mahamad (November 1, 2016). "From Refugee to St. House Race, Ilhan Omar Looks to Break New Ground". Arab American Institute. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Holpuch, Amanda (February 29, 2016). "'This is my country': Muslim candidate aims to break boundaries in Minnesota". The Guardian. London. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  10. ^ "Ilhan Omar elected first Somali-American legislator in the US". Al Arabiya English. November 9, 2016. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  11. ^ Karnowski, Steve (August 10, 2016). "Former Somali refugee poised to win office in Minnesota". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Associated Press. Archived from the original on November 10, 2016. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  12. ^ North Dakota, State of. "NDSU Magezine Winter 2017 Excerpts". North Dakota State University. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Ilhan Omar". Linkedin. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  14. ^ Nord, James; Bierschbach, Briana (February 18, 2014). "Allegations of threats, bullying follow Cedar-Riverside caucus brawl". MinnPost. Minneapolis. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  15. ^ a b c "Bio - Ilhan for State Representative - 60B". Ilhan Omar. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  16. ^ Sawyer, Liz (August 27, 2016). "GOP state House candidate to suspend campaign against Ilhan Omar". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  17. ^ Coolican, J. Patrick; Klecker, Mara (August 10, 2016). "Ilhan Omar makes history with victory over long-serving Rep. Phyllis Kahn". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  18. ^ a b "DFL candidate Ilhan Omar explains marital history in statement". Fox9. August 17, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  19. ^ "DFL candidate Ilhan Omar explains marital history in statement". Fox9. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  20. ^ Lopez, Ricardo (January 4, 2017). "Dayton, legislators kick off session in newly refurbished Capitol". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  21. ^ Van Oot, Torey (September 10, 2018). "The Reds Are Coming—& They're Young, Female, & Determined To Win America's Heartland". Refinery29. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  22. ^ Cirillo, Jeff (August 13, 2018). "Abuse Allegations Loom Over Minnesota Race to Replace Ellison". Roll Call. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  23. ^ Berry, Erica (July 11, 2017). "The Country's First Somali-American Legislator and Her Politics of Inclusivity". Pacific Standard. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  24. ^ Faircloth, Ryan (August 24, 2016). "Debate spotlights veteran, newcomers". Minnesota Daily. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  25. ^ "Minnesota Legislature - Office of the Revisor of Statutes".
  26. ^ a b "Muslim Candidate for Congress Calls Israel 'Apartheid Regime'". Haaretz. 2018-07-09. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  27. ^ a b Kampeas, Ron (15 August 2015). "News Brief Ilhan Omar, who once called Israel an 'apartheid regime,' wins congressional primary in Minnesota". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  28. ^ "Ilhan Omar (DFL) 60B - Minnesota House of Representatives".
  29. ^ Potter, Kyle (5 June 2018). "Nation's 1st Somali-American lawmaker eyes seat in Congress". Associated Press. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  30. ^ Golden, Erin. "DFL endorses Omar for Ellison's congressional seat". Star Tribune.
  31. ^ "Omar wins DFL primary for 5th District congressional seat". New York Times. August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  32. ^ FOX. "Ilhan Omar, Jennifer Zielinski win primary for Minnesota's 5th District". KMSP. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  33. ^ Newburger, Emma (2018-08-15). "Two Democrats are poised to become the first Muslim women in Congress". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  34. ^ Mugo, Kari (October 23, 2015). "African diaspora shines at the African Awards Gala". Mshale. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  35. ^ "Minneapolis Rep. Ilhan Omar featured on Time Magazine cover". TwinCities. 7 September 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  36. ^ "5 Families Changing the World". Vogue (magazine). 11 January 2018.
  37. ^ "'Time for Ilhan': Film Review | Tribeca 2018". Hollywood Reporter. April 27, 2018.
  38. ^ "DFL candidate Ilhan Omar explains marital history in statement". Fox9. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  39. ^ Van Berkel, Jessie (July 24, 2018). "Fellow legislator accuses Ilhan Omar of using campaign funds for divorce lawyer: Omar and her divorce attorney say allegation of misuse of funds is false". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  40. ^ Forliti, Amy (October 17, 2018). "Minnesota House hopeful calls marriage, fraud claims 'lies'". AP News.
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