Aiyaya. Here we go again.
Our congresswoman, Rep. Ilhan Omar, recently equated America and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban. Of course, she clarified that this is not what she meant to say. But the incident has riled up outrage machines in America and in Israel. Gee whiz, this statement in a tweet equally offended Democrats and Republicans.
There is a serious problem when one cannot distinguish our glorious America and its ally Israel from butchers of humanity like Hamas and the Taliban.
The Taliban recently suicide bombed a school for minority Shia Hazara youth, killing girls whose crime was to seek education. Hamas sent suicide bombers, young Palestinians, into restaurants and buses.
Yet our congresswoman cannot differentiate them from us.
Why go after our country — the country that, when it saw our Somali people descending into an abyss of violence, humanely opened its doors, hearts and wallets, giving us opportunity, freedom, liberties and the right to our pursuit of happiness. How can America then be equated with a terrorist group?
Do not get me wrong, I am a supporter and a brother by faith to the Palestinians and their cause of freedom and liberty. Ask the majority of Americans — they will agree with that statement. But who needs enemies when in the halls of Congress we can tarnish whole nations' reputations, comparing not one but two democracies to theocrats who are butchers of humanity?
We are glad Rep. Omar has clarified her statement. But the damage is done.
Vilification of our country is now a trend. It is not just our congresswoman, but figures on all sides of the political realm who have now resorted to substituting insults for thinking.
As the first Somali woman in Congress, one of two Muslim women there, Black by descent, Omar has always been under the spotlight. The initial euphoria of realizing what a great country America is that a former refugee sits in Congress is evaporating.
I feel for Rep. Omar; the threats she receives surpass those aimed at all in Congress. But creating moral equivalence between America, our ally Israel and terrorists does not engender support. It will drive the crazies who send threats into overdrive. It is right for other members of our congressional delegation to howl on this issue.
Rep. Omar could be the voice of hope, the star for peace. But this pattern of tweets and statements condemning America or Jews is not a one-off. It is symptomatic of a lack of common-sense filters on these issues.
I can be a brother to the Palestinian cause of freedom and still a friend of Israel. Our congresswoman, whose district includes a huge Jewish population, should try that on for size.
Please, no more clarifications. Be the hope we wanted you to be for us all.
Mohamed A. Ahmed, of Minneapolis, is executive director of the Average Mohamed organization.