Hours after one of his supporters was arrested for threatening to kill the Minnesota congresswoman, the US president attacked the lawmaker at a meeting of Jewish Republicans.
US President Donald Trump has verbally attacked Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar just hours after one of his supporters was arrested for threatening to kill her.
Speaking at a meeting of the American Republican Jewish Coalition (ARJC) on Saturday, Trump sarcastically thanked the Minnesota lawmaker, before accusing her of hating Israel to cheers from those present.
Just hours earlier the FBI announced the arrest of Trump supporter, Pat Carlineo, for a threat he allegedly made on March 21.
Carlineo is said to have phoned Omar’s office, called the politician a ‘f***ing terrorist’ before vowing to put a ‘bullet’ in her skull, according to an affidavit published by the law enforcement agency.
Omar made history during November’s US midterm elections by becoming the first Muslim woman to enter the US Congress, alongside Palestinian-American, Rashida Tlaib.
The Democrat politician, who arrived in the US as a child after fleeing war in Somalia, has become the focus of frenzied right-wing anger over her criticisms of the the main Israel lobby, AIPAC, and her decision to wear the hijab hair covering, worn by many Muslim women.
One of Trump’s sick supporters threatened to murder @IlhanMN & was arrested— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) April 8, 2019
One of Trump’s sick admirers murdered 50 Muslims in New Zealand & was arrested
Trump thinks it’s funny to attack a Black Muslim congresswoman under death threats by his cronies
Attacks over hijab and Israel lobby views
While initially confined to hard-right conservative media outlets, the US president eventually joined in the fray; mainly over Omar’s comments on the influence of the Israel lobby.
“Representative Ilhan Omar is again under fire for her terrible comments concerning Israel. Jewish groups have just sent a petition to Speaker Pelosi asking her to remove Omar from Foreign Relations Committee. A dark day for Israel!” Trump wrote on Twitter in early March.
Later in the same month, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, suggested on-air that by wearing a hijab Omar was indicating her allegiance to Islamic law, which she described as antithetical to the US constitution.
Fox News condemned the remarks and has suspended Pirro from appearing on the channel, but Trump has given her his backing and demanded she be reinstated.
He tweeted: “Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro. The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well.”
Understand when Jeanine Pirro goes on Fox + rallies people to think hijabs are threatening, it leads to this.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 7, 2019
Folks who imply we’re “bad” for politics, the party, the country, etc. have no idea the threats we deal w/ because of that kind of language.
Talk policy, not personal. https://t.co/udFg3LMdgB
'Both sides of the aisle'
Palestinian-American lawmaker Tlaib has also faced abuse over her heritage, even from fellow politicians. In March she declared Islamophobia was a problem on ‘both sides of the aisle’.
Supporters of Omar have not held back from making the connection between comments like Pirro’s and the death threats the Muslim-American has received.
Democrat member of the House of Representatives, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said: “Understand when Jeanine Pirro goes on Fox, [it] rallies people to think hijabs are threatening, it leads to this.”
Responding to Trump’s attacks on her, Omar simply shared a saying of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad: “My Lord, forgive my people for they do not know.”
The president’s attacks against Omar come within a context of widespread Islamophobia and rising racism in the US.
In October last year researchers found that two in five Americans thought Islam was incompatible with US values, with 71 percent of Republicans, in particular, holding negative views of Islam.