Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 July 2019

Ilhan Omar says she has received death threats since Trump's 9/11 video

Democrats have called for the president to remove the video from his Twitter page

US Representative Ilhan Omar. AFP
US Representative Ilhan Omar. AFP

Ilhan Omar, the first Muslim Congresswoman in the United States, said she received death threats after US President Donald Trump shared a video that purports to show her being dismissive of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City.

She made a statement on Sunday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for Mr Trump to take down the video and said she had taken additional measures to protect the Muslim politician from reprisals.

"This is endangering lives," Ms Omar said, accusing Mr Trump of fomenting right-wing extremism. "It has to stop."

Soon after Ms Pelosi's statement, the video disappeared as a pinned tweet at the top of Mr Trump's Twitter feed, but it was not deleted.

Ms Pelosi was among Democrats who had criticised Mr Trump over the tweet, with some accusing him of trying to incite violence against the Muslim lawmaker.

A man from New York was recently charged with making death threats against her.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended Mr Trump earlier on Sunday, saying the president has a duty to highlight Ms Omar's history of making comments that others deem anti-Semitic or otherwise offensive and that he wished no "ill will" upon the first-term lawmaker.

But Ms Omar said since the president had retweeted the video on Friday, she received many threats on her life that referred or replied to the posted video.

"Violent crimes and other acts of hate by right-wing extremists and white nationalists are on the rise in this country and around the world," she said. "We can no longer ignore that they are being encouraged by the occupant of the highest office in the land." She said: "We are all Americans."

Earlier, Ms Pelosi issued a statement while traveling in London saying she had spoken with congressional authorities "to ensure that Capitol Police are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff".

Yemeni-Americans are criticising the New York Post tabloid over its front page last week that featured a photograph of the burning World Trade Centre and a quote from Democratic Muslim Representative Ms Omar.

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the Yemeni American Merchant Association announced a formal boycott of the tabloid after Yemeni bodega owners in New York had earlier agreed to stop selling the newspaper.

Debbi Almontaser, the secretary of the board of directors for the merchants, says they support free speech, but "will not accept the incitement of violence against Muslims. The merchant group demanded an apology from the newspaper.

A spokeswoman for News Corporation, the parent company of the New York Post, declined to comment.

Updated: April 15, 2019 09:41 AM