Rep. Ilhan Omar has called for “a system of compassion to be applied” in sentencing a man who threatened to kill her earlier this year.
In a letter to District Judge Frank Geraci in New York on Tuesday, the Democratic Congresswoman specifically stressed the seriousness of Patrick Carlineo’s crime, which “was a threat against an entire religion, at a time of rising hate crime against religious minorities in our country”.
Omar warned against responding to acts of political retribution “with retribution ourselves”, adding that “the answer to hate is not more hate; it is compassion”.
Sharing my full letter on the the sentencing of Patrick W. Carlineo, a man convicted of threatening my life.— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) November 19, 2019
We must apply a system of compassion to criminal justice.
Who are we as a nation if we respond to threats of political retribution with retribution ourselves? pic.twitter.com/s96jjh8AlD
She called for a “restorative justice” approach toward Carlineo, insisting that “punishing the defendant with a lengthy prison sentence or a burdensome financial fine would not rehabilitate him”. If convicted, Carlineo will face up to 10 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.
“It would not repair the harm he has caused. It would only increase his anger and resentment,” Omar wrote, adding that a punitive approach will not prevent criminals like Carlineo from committing a crime again.
“He should understand the consequences of his actions, be given the opportunity to make amends and seek redemption”, according to Omar.
She concluded by quoting Nelson Mandela as saying once that , “people must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love.”
Carlineo’s lawyer Sonya Zoghlin has meanwhile told Huffington Post that he had “taken responsibility for using threatening and inappropriate language” with respect to Omar and that “we certainly agree with Congresswoman Omar’s recommendation that he be treated with compassion, rather than retribution”.
Earlier, Zoghlin said in a statement that even though Carlineo was passionate about his beliefs and has “taken responsibility for using threatening language to express them”, he never intended to harm Omar.
On 21 March, the 55-year-old called Omar's Washington office and told a staffer, “Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she's a f***ing terrorist. I'll put a bullet in her f***ing skull”, according to a press release from the US Attorney’s office.
Carlineo later told federal investigators that he was a “patriot” and hated radical Muslims who are critical of US President Donald Trump.