Controversial freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) encouraged some 400 Los Angeles-area Muslims Saturday to "raise hell" and stand defiant in the face of what she characterized as rampant discrimination against the Muslim community.
Omar's comments came during a fundraising event for the Los Angeles chapter of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations. She was one of several keynote speakers.
What did Omar say?
"I say raise hell, make people uncomfortable," Omar said. "Because here's the truth. For far too long, we have lived with the discomfort of living as second class citizens, and frankly I'm tired of it and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it."
Omar later claimed that discrimination against Muslims has always been bad in the U.S., but said it has only become worse under President Donald Trump.
"We finally have a leader, a world leader, in the White House who publicly says 'Islam hates us,' who fuels hate against Muslims, who think it is OK to speak about a faith and a whole community in a way that is dehumanizing, vilifying, and doesn't understand — or at least makes us think he doesn't understand — the consequences his words might have," Omar said.
"Some people, like me, know that [Trump] understands the consequences," she claimed. "He know that there are people that he can influence to threaten our lives, to diminish our presence."
Omar's comments are significant because she has repeatedly and unapologetically engaged in anti-Semitism in the public square, even questioning the allegiance of fellow pro-Israel Democratic lawmakers.
Did Omar address her anti-Israel comments?
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Omar indirectly addressed her controversial comments, which many have characterized as deeply anti-Semitic. Omar, on the other hand, claims her suggestions are fair criticism of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel.
"People say 'Ilhan, why are you always talking about this particular country and not that particular country?' My choice of country to talk about is not based on my preference of country. It is based on what country is violating basic human rights. So it doesn't matter, if that country is being run by my father, my brother my sister, I will still criticize that country … we must also hold those that we love, that have shared values with, accountable," Omar said.
Because of her controversial comments, hundreds of protesters demonstrated outside the event Saturday. Omar mocked the protesters.
"I don't think any of them realize that people like myself and many of the people in this room could care less about what they have to say," she said.