Opinion| Democratic Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar has recently been at the center of news headlines after making a series of anti-Semitic comments.
It seems that Omar, much like self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist/freshman congresswoman from New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has been unable to keep her mouth shut, causing some big problems for the Democratic Party as a whole.
Chicksonright.com explains that “the Democrats created a debacle for themselves with the failure to either specifically condemn her or to be able to make a stand alone resolution simply condemning anti-Semitism.”
Omar has voiced her controversial positions in the past.
“In 2017, the Minnesota legislature was considering a bill, H. F. No. 1397, to allow insurance companies to deny payouts to beneficiaries if the insured’s death was ‘directly or indirectly as a result of the insured’s furtherance of terrorism,’” reports Chicksonright.com.
The bill was in response to the 2015 San Bernardino shooting. Syed Rizwan Farook, a California man who, with his wife Tashfeen Malik, shot and killed 14 people, had previously taken out two life insurance policies worth a combined total of $275,000. After Farook was killed in a shootout with law enforcement, his mother was to be the primary beneficiary of the policies.
However, the federal government filed a lawsuit to seize the money, saying it planned to disperse the funds among the surviving victims and the families of those killed in the attack.
“Terrorists must not be permitted to provide for their designated beneficiaries through their crimes,” said then- U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker in a statement.“My office intends to explore every legal option available to us to ensure these funds are made available to the victims of this horrific crime. We will continue to use every tool available to seek justice on behalf of the victims.”
Representative John Lesch and Representative Ilhan Omar voted against the Minnesota bill, but it still managed to pass. (At the time, Omar was a part of the Minnesota legislature.)
Lesch stated that he was not opposed to the meaning behind the bill, however he explained that he had some concern because the decision was “by the insurance companies that it might give the companies too much discretion over what constituted terrorism in order to deny benefits,” according to Chicksonright.com.
Representative Omar has not explained why she voted the way she chose to, and she has not yet responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.
And then there was a letter she wrote to Judge Michael Davis in 2016 requesting that the judge show leniency for young ISIS recruits:
Omar has been criticized by some on the political right for a letter she sent a judge back in 2016 asking for leniency to be shown to nine Minnesota men charged with planning to join ISIS. “The best deterrent to fanaticism is a system of compassion,” reads one portion of the letter. “We must alter our attitude and approach; if we truly want to affect change, we should refocus our efforts on inclusion and rehabilitation.”
As you undoubtedly deliberate with great caution the sentencing of nine recently convicted Somali-American men, I bring to your attention the ramifications of sentencing young men who made a consequential mistake to decades in federal prison. Incarcerating 20-year-old men for 30 or 40 years is essentially a life sentence. Society will have no expectations of the to be 50 or 60-year-old released prisoners; it will view them with distrust and revulsion. Such punitive measures not only lack efficacy, they inevitably create an environment in which extremism can flourish, aligning with the presupposition of terrorist recruitment: “Americans do not accept you and continue to trivialize your value. Instead of being a nobody, be a martyr.”
The best deterrent to fanaticism is a system of compassion. We must alter our attitude and approach; if we truly want to affect change, we should refocus our efforts on inclusion and rehabilitation. A long-term prison sentence for one who chose violence to combat direct marginalization is a statement that our justice system misunderstands the guilty. A restorative approach to justice assesses the lure of criminality and addresses it.
The desire to commit violence is not inherent to people — it is the consequences of systematic alienation; people seek violent solutions when the process established for enacting change is inaccessible to them. Fueled by disaffection turned to malice, if the guilty were willing to kill and be killed fighting perceived injustice, imagine the consequence of them hearing, “I believe you can be rehabilitated. I want you to become part of my community, and together we will thrive.” We use this form of distributive justice for patients with chemical dependencies; treatment and societal reintegration. The most effective penance is making these men ambassadors of reform.
The restorative approach provides a long-term solution – though the self-declared Islamic State may soon suffer defeat, their radical approach to change-making will continue as it has throughout history – by criminalizing the undergirding construct rather than its predisposed victims. Therein, this ruling can set a precedent and has the potential to be a landmark case in addressing extremism.
Thank you for your careful attention.
Minneapolis, a city within Omar’s congressional district, has witnessed some of its young male residents join, or attempt to join, terror groups such as ISIS and Somalia-based al-Shabab, according to one Fox News story.
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