Ilhan Omar: Minnesota is More Violent Than Somali Refugee Camp
© AP Photo / J. Scott ApplewhiteRep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., plays a recording of a death threat left on her voicemail in the wake of anti-Islamic comments made last week by Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., who likened Omar to a bomb-carrying terrorist, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021
© AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite
When Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar was eight years old, she and her family fled the civil war in Somalia. For four years, they lived in a refugee camp Dadaab, located close to the Kenya-Somali border.
US Representative Ilhan Omar has suggested that when it comes to violence, Minnesota is worse than the Somalian refugee camp she used to live in when she was a kid.
"For six years, I had the privilege of not seeing any violence, until I moved to Minnesota," Omar said during her remarks at the Gun Violence Community Conversation at North High in Minneapolis on Thursday. "My first year in Minnesota I both saw a person shot at Peavey Park, dead on the floor, three weeks after my father and I arrived in Minneapolis. Six months later I watched the Minneapolis police put 38 bullets into the body of a mentally disabled Somali immigrant who didn't speak English."
Omar recalled that refugee camp kids would carry assault rifle guns when going to school.
"I know what that kind of violence looks like," she continued, "but I was fortunate enough to flee that and seek refuge in a refugee camp for four years where I did not witness that kind of violence."
In 2022, the city of Minneapolis alone has already marked 45 homicides. In early June, the leaders of 10 healthcare systems in Minnesota declared gun violence a public health crisis.
The life in Dadaab, in turn, was described by Omar in 2020 as "hostile" and "survival of the fittest", with the lawmaker saying that she sometimes had to fight others just to get access to drinking water.
Omar was granted asylum in the US in 1995, settling in New York City with her family when she was 12.