Ilhan Omar, soon to become the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker, said Wednesday she was the target of Islamophobic and sexist taunts from a Washington, D.C., cabdriver while in his vehicle on Tuesday.
The state representative-elect from Minneapolis, in the nation’s capital Tuesday for policy training at the White House, detailed the encounter on her Twitter and Facebook accounts.
“On my way to our hotel, I got in a cab and became subjected to the most hateful, derogatory, islamophobic, sexist taunts and threats I have ever experienced,” she began. “The cabdriver called me ISIS and threatened to remove my hijab.”
Unsure how the encounter would end, she wrote that she tried to rush out of the cab and retrieve her belongings.
Omar wrote that she is still shaken by the incident and cannot understand how bold people are becoming in displaying their hatred toward Muslims. . “I pray for his humanity and for all those who harbor hate in their hearts,” she said.
In response to an inquiry on her Facebook page, Omar said she plans to file a report once she is back in Minneapolis, adding that she does not feel safe enough to say anything at the moment.
The reply did not say whether the report would be with police, the cabdriver’s employer or possibly a civil rights organization.
Akhilesh Menawat, a representative for Omar, said Wednesday afternoon that Omar is declining to say anything more because she wants to focus on the conference.
The Star Tribune was unable to find out which cab company she used in order to get a response.
Omar, 34, is also director of policy at Women Organizing Women Network, a group dedicated to pushing East African women into civic leadership. She faced only nominal Republican opposition last month in a heavily DFL Minneapolis district to win the seat.