Ilhan Omar made history last month when she became the first Somali-American lawmaker of the United States. But that doesn’t matter a whit to some people who can’t see past a person’s color or clothing.
While coming back from attending a public policy meeting on Washington, D.C. this week, Omar was attacked by a cab driver because of her ever-present hijab. In a Facebook post, Ilhan recounted the most “hateful, derogatory, Islamophobic, sexist taunts and threats” experience of her life.
Once she was inside the cab, the driver, apparently not knowing or caring who Omar was, unleashed a barrage of vitriol at her. He called her “ISIS” and threatened to rip off the hijab from her head.
The shaken 33-year-old legislator, uncertain of what would happen if she stayed in the cab, quickly got out of the car and retrieved her belongings. However, she had the presence of mind to take a look at the cab driver’s license plate number and said in her post that she will report him when she’s safe at home in Minnesota. However, she did not say to whom: the police, the cab driver’s company or a human rights organization.
The very upset Omar said she was horrified by how bold people were getting at displaying their Islamophobia and prayed for the cabbie’s “humanity and for all those who harbor hate in their hearts.”
Fans on Twitter jumped to support Omar after her harrowing incident.
"She was subjected to the most hateful, derogatory, islamophobic, sexist taunts and threats...by a D.C. cab driver" https://t.co/ve1A1PB9a7— Sally Mao (@sallywenmao) December 7, 2016
When every day brings fresh, new heartache. https://t.co/4KLtvKZ8Ue— Mariah Craven (@Mariah_Craven) December 7, 2016
Akhilesh Menawat, a representative for Omar, said the lawmaker declined to say anything more because she wanted to focus on the conference for the rest of her duration.
It’s extremely sad that even after Omar has accomplished so much, she was still targeted based on her religion and her choice of apparel.
But it’s common knowledge that racists only see the negative.
A similar incident occurred at a New York City supermarket where a retired corrections officer was grabbed and “beaten like a slave” by cops who were looking for a shoplifter and decided he fit the description of a “thug” based on just his color.