Ilhan Omar’s Deeply American Message

I watched Ilhan Omar’s recent address to the Council of American Islamic Relations for the same reason most people did: to see whether she had—as Donald Trump claimed—minimized the 9/11 terrorist attacks. What I found was unexpected. In offering a vision for how to live as an American Muslim, her speech to CAIR beautifully evoked what I treasure about being an American Jew.

Omar’s core argument was simple: We Muslims are not guests here. We are as American as everyone else and, thus, we should bring our full selves into the public square. “For a really long time in this country,” she said, “we have been told that there is a privilege that we are given and it might be taken away. We are told that we should be appropriate. We should go to school, get an education, raise our children and not bother anyone, not make any kind of noise, don’t make anyone uncomfortable.”

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