Controversial Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) will face an unexpected Republican challenger in this November's election — from a Muslim refugee woman like herself.
Dalia al-Aqidi, a journalist and former White House correspondent from Iraq, argues that since taking office in 2019 Omar has done nothing but seek to divide and undermine America, and that despite apparent similarities with Omar, she is nothing like the freshman Minnesota congresswoman.
"On the surface, we look the same. We're both women, refugees, Muslims, but we couldn't be further apart," al-Aqidi said in announcing her run for office.
"The difference is that while Dalia has used her life experience to expose oppression and boost the U.S, Omar has done the opposite — stoking fear, inspiring hatred, inciting violence, and embarrassing the U.S.," her campaign website states.
"To put it simply, Ilhan Omar needs to be stopped," al-Aqidi argues.
But al-Aqidi also views her and Omar's similar backgrounds as a strength of her campaign, telling Fox News that Omar won't be able to use her backstory as an identity politics ploy since the two candidates' backstories are "basically the same."
Al-Aqidi has spent most of her professional career working as a political journalist, working for Voice of America as well as spending some time as a White House correspondent for Alhurra, a U.S.-based Arabic channel that airs in the Middle East.
Her career has given her firsthand experience of Middle Eastern conflict, and she says she has come away with more appreciation for America because of it. This stands in contrast to Omar, al-Aqidi told Fox News.
"Every time she opens her mouth she says something either anti-U.S. or anti-Semitic," she argued.
"I am loyal to the country that gave me a chance, gave me a brighter future," she added. "[Omar] continually tries to weaken the country and divide us."
Al-Aqidi joins a large and growing field of candidates for Minnesota's 5th Congressional District seat. Already, businessman Lacy Johnson, special-education professional Danielle Stella, minister Lucia Vogel, activist Alley Waterbury, and former auto sales manager Brent Whaley are running on the Republican side of the ballot.
On the Democratic side, Omar faces primary challenges from community organizer John Mason and attorney Antone Melton-Meaux.
Since her election to Congress in 2018, Omar has come under scrutiny from many on the right side of the aisle over controversial remarks about Israel and seeming support for U.S. adversaries — as well as potential criminal activity.
On Thursday, TheBlaze reported that at least three federal agencies, including U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, were reviewing evidence and considering criminal cases against Omar.