In the interview, Al Jazeera host Medhi Hasan said some Americans feel justified in fearing Islam out of their own safety, before listing a number of radical Islamic terror attacks. Omar dismissed the suggestion, claiming there is much more harm coming from white males across the country.
"I would say our country should be more fearful of white men across our country because they are actually causing most of the deaths within this country," she replied. "And so if fear was the driving force of policies to keep America safe - Americans safe inside of this country - we should be profiling, monitoring, and creating policies to fight the radicalization of white men."
Ilhan Omar contends that Americans "should be more fearful of white men." pic.twitter.com/ot7PBF96P1— Molly Prince (@mollyfprince) July 24, 2019
Netizens were offended by her suggestion, noting that such rhetoric is dangerous and would be called racist if it was a white woman speaking about men of colour.
Be fearful of white men?!?! How incredibly racist! What if she said we need to be more fearful of black men? Or of Hispanic men? Oh the dems would have a hayday https://t.co/0nM8mG2WIT— Shawn Haggerty (@shawnhaggerty) July 24, 2019
A congresswoman says that America should be more fearful of white men.— Kathy Zhu (@PoliticalKathy) July 24, 2019
If someone said that we should be more fearful of black men, imagine the outrage! https://t.co/4lSuN2NdcZ
She just demonized an entire race of men and therefore helped instigate anger and hatred their way based on a question that was about religion, yet she turned it into skin color.— Aclip24 🌯🇺🇸🤜🏼💥 (@aclip24) July 25, 2019
Trump was right about her.
Incredibly racist comments singling out one group for the color of their skin ("white"). @Ilhan @IlhanMN must be removed from Congress. She brings shame to that chamber of our government. We, the people, will respond.— ⟨Qℕ™|℘Kʦ⟩ (@qntmpkts) July 24, 2019
This isn't the first time Omar has been criticized for making controversial statements. She has been publicly challenged on quotes about Al Qaeda and the 9/11 terror attacks, most specifically when she appeared at a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) fundraiser earlier this year and described the carnage from September 11th as, "some people did something," causing outrage from US President Donald Trump, who accused her of showing compassion for terrorists.