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Post Ilhan Omar's Speech on 9/11
Created by John Eipper on 04/14/19 3:52 AM

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Ilhan Omar's Speech on 9/11 (A. J. Cave, USA, 04/14/19 3:52 am)

I don't know if other WAISers have taken on this topic or not. I'll be brief.

At the CAIR-LA (Council on American-Islamic Relations) Banquet, March 23rd, the 37-year old Somalian-born Muslim (or Moslem, as she calls herself) Ilhan Omar, serving as the new US Representative for Minnesota's 5th Congressional district, referred to the 9/11 terrorists as "some people who did something." Her full sermon is online and those who are interested can listen and watch for themselves. She is a naturalized US citizen and there is that freedom of speech thingy and she is entitled to her opinions.

However, as WAISers know, my cousin's 20-something year-old daughter was killed in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Her name is engraved on the WTC memorial, and her grief-stricken mother has never been able to put the tragedy of losing her only child behind her.

So, two things:

1) Congresswoman Omar does not speak for Muslims world-wide, American-Muslims (an estimated 3.45 million, about 1.1% of the US population, as of 2017), and for me.

2) Those "some people who did something" were specifically 19 al-Qaeda (Arab) Islamist terrorists (15 Saudi Arabians, 2 from the United Arab Emirates, 1 Egyptian, and 1 Lebanese) who killed 2,996 people (one of them, my kin), and injured over 6,000 others in a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks. Additional people have died (and dying) of 9/11-related cancer and respiratory diseases ever since. (From Wikipedia, rephrased. The statistics don't even touch the psychological trauma we Americans have suffered through.)

To me, this is no different than anyone, and I mean anyone, making similar shameful comments about the Holocaust (the Shoah). Shame on those elected government officials who trivialize such horrific atrocities to further their political platforms.

JE comments:  Will Rep. Omar's political career be able to survive this episode?  Time will tell, but I'm doubtful.  She has already achieved something few thought possible:  to displace Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the #1 spot of the Right's hate list.

A. J., what can you tell us about the CAIR?  Its enemies describe the group as systematic apologists for terrorism.

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  • Why Blame Iran and Not Saudi Arabia? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 04/14/19 1:20 PM)
    Strange, 15 Saudis "did something," and the US judicial system asked Iran to pay damages while the US government is strongly allied with Saudi Arabia.

    But A. J. Cave makes a strong case against Rep. Omar, although the episode is still very muddy.

    JE comments:  What do we know about the Council on American-Islamic Relations, its funding, etc?  A. J. Cave explains further (next).

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  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (A. J. Cave, USA 04/15/19 3:02 AM)
    When it comes to CAIR (and other similar organizations), I am a Goog-Wik. I Google them and read about them on Wikipedia. I leave it to those who have a better understanding of CAIR to comment. So, this is publicly available information. The sources of Wikipedia piece on CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) are CAIR's website and some investigative media reports.

    I had actually never heard of CAIR until looking them up in the context of offensive remarks made by the Congresswoman Omar. As her speech at CAIR event indicates, she was confused about the origins story of CAIR herself, claiming that CAIR was founded after 9/11 because of "some people who did something." It is up to the voters who elected her to decide if she is representing their views or pushing her own personal political agenda.

    CAIR was apparently founded in 1994 and according to an article linked on Wikipedia, they have a budget of $3 million a year as of 2007, supporting a staff of 60-70, supplemented by 300 (?) unpaid volunteers. They seem to be (yet) another Sunni-Arab 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with the lofty goal of not just be the "go-to" organization for all "Muslims," but for all "Americans," They probably have not heard of the US Constitution and all its celebrated amendments.

    My rule of thumb for evaluating these sorts of organizations (including similar Iranian-American sister organizations) is checking their annual financial statements. Tax-exempt organizations must publish and post their (preferably audited) financial statements on their websites for public scrutiny of sources and uses of funds. The absence of such crucial information normally puts my brain on red alert.

    JE comments:  The law for non-profits is to make the financial statements (specifically, the tax form 990) available upon request, although it is not mandatory to post the information on a website.  (We don't do this at WAIS.)  You can also obtain a copy of any 501 (c)(3)'s 990 from the IRS...just write them a letter!

    This 2014 National Review article from Daniel Pipes (hardly unbiased, but still respected) claims that CAIR incites terrorism and is connected to Hamas.  The UAE made this same declaration at that time.  Can anyone update us here?


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    • Did Ilhan Omar Speak for Her Voters, or as a Private Citizen? (A. J. Cave, USA 04/17/19 11:55 AM)
      A couple of additional thoughts on my previous posts:

      On the issue of Ilhan Omar's "some people did something" remarks, the key question is whether she was/is speaking for the voters of Minneapolis, or as a private citizen. What was her speaking fee and how was it funded? She is highly critical of Israel and the President, so regardless of whatever she says, she seems to have the backings of various anti-Israeli and anti-Trump groups who have been defending her every word. Save her support base who got her elected, as a "Muslim" woman, the Democratic leadership has been protective of her too.

      This brings up a bigger question: how to evaluate the "words and deeds" of the newly elected "Muslims" to the US Congress. We normally don't cuddle members of the Congress because of their religion(s), since ideally the Congress and her members should honor freedom of religion. That goes for the Evangelicals too.

      On‎ 501(c)(3) entities, yes, they are not required by law to publish their tax returns and post them on their websites, but should make them available to anyone who asks for them. However, there's no longer a good reason why such tax filings shouldn't be posted online routinely for the sake of full transparency and convenience. There are a number of online "charity" watchdogs who sort through tax returns of 501(c)(3)s and provide a rating for (potential) donors. As long as they file, they no longer can hide from public scrutiny.

      I could not find a rating for CAIR in charitynavigator.org. This watchdog organization (and others) rates tax-exempts with $1M+ revenue. There are multiple listings for various CAIR chapters, so my guess is that they could be flying under the radar using a distributed ledger. I don't know.

      I couldn't find a rating for WAIS either. However, there's is a world of difference between WAIS and CAIR for those who care. WAIS is an online journal without an advocacy and lobbying arm, while CAIR is a Islamist advocacy organization.

      JE comments: Nor do we have the cool $1 million. But there's always hope! (You've reminded me, A. J.! It's time to pass the hat at WAIS...)

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  • Issues of the Day: Ilhan Omar and Xu Zhangrun (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA 04/15/19 3:20 AM)

    Gary Moore writes:

    Thanks to A. J. Cave and Paul Levine (both Apr 13)
    for bringing up two important issues: 1) Rep Ilhan Omar's abysmal speech minimizing
    9/11, and 2) the Chinese government's move against Professor Xu Zhangrun, resulting
    in the letter of support movement. I didn't know the Xu case, but I second the urgency
    expressed by those who do.

    Shocked by A. J.'s revelation about the remarks by Rep. Omar, minimizing 9/11, I Googled Omar with what seemed the salient question:  Who+voted+for+Ilhan+Omar. The Google page I got back suggests the ghost of Googlemania bias. Hit 1 is "Stand with Ilhan Omar...actblue," Hit 2: The New Yorker telling us "How Ilhan Omar Won Over Hearts...," Hit 3 is a straightforward recap from Ballotpedia, but Hit 4 is "14 reasons to vote for Ilhan," and only at Hit 5 do we edge toward "Letters: Regretting vote for Ilhan Omar."

    Somewhere in this maze is a glimpse of how somebody could vote for somebody primed to say what she did.

    JE comments:  The Minneapolis-St Paul region has the largest Somali population in the US, some 80,000.  That alone is not enough to elect a Congressional Representative, but it might provide the critical mass for a primary election.

    Several days ago Gary Moore assembled a list of "Gordian-Knot Cutters," expressions of the "I know it when I see it" type.  How about another list:  politicians who destroyed their careers with a single tone-deaf remark?  Hillary's "Basket of Deplorables" and Romney's "47 Percent" are good places to start.

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    • Politicians' Career-Ending Statements: Gary Hart (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA 04/16/19 6:28 AM)

      Gary Moore writes:

      Here's my contribution to our ever-inventive moderator's idea for a new list for WAIS to compile,
      this time on political bloopers that ended the careers of the sayers.

      Gary Hart begs to be included:
      "Go ahead, follow me, I dare you" (or something to that effect),
      which quickly coupled with the wildly unwise name of the little yacht
      he was using as secret party boat--to which boat, of course, the dared
      reporters duly followed him. Then they could scarcely believe such a
      news bonanza: painted neatly on the stern of the boat was
      the name Monkey Business--ever afterward Hart's snickering albatross.

      Ah, the truly profound mysteries of grandiosity.

      JE comments:  "Go ahead, follow me, you'll be bored," to which John Chancellor later remarked, "we did, and we weren't."  (This was the professorial Chancellor's funniest quip ever.)  Had it not been for a little monkey business, Senator Hart would very likely have won the 1988 election, and history would have turned out very differently (no Bush dynasty, for starters).

      Good one, Gary (I mean Moore, not Hart).

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      • Gary Hart's Monkey Business (David Duggan, USA 04/18/19 3:35 AM)

        Not to quibble, but the Monkey Business photos confirmed what had been ascertained from a Miami Herald stakeout of Hart's DC townhome, after receiving a not-quite-anonymous tip from a fellow-reveler on that boat.

        Hart was seen escorting Ms. Rice (of "No Excuses" jeans fame) into and out from that house, with photos to prove to a less-than-doubting public.

        JE comments:  I'm curious if the Monkey Business is still, well, in business.  Wikipedia speaks of the yacht in the present tense, saying it belongs to the Turnberry Isle resort in Miami.  Nobody throws away a yacht, but it may have been "re-branded" with a new name, as has the hotel itself, which is now a Marriott property.  The Turnberry website says nothing about its most notorious asset:


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      • Politicians Shooting Themselves in the Foot: Boris Johnson (John Heelan, UK 04/18/19 3:48 AM)
        Bojo the Clown might have shot himself in the foot (and missed) by regularly appearing on the satirical series Have I Got News for You, frequently being made to look a bumbling idiot. (Stand up that boy who shouted, "Truth will Out!")

        Time will tell if Corbyn also will regret some of his previous policy statements on the EU. See Tim Shipman's book about the UK's moribund political class.

        JE comments: I find Boris Johnson's comedy moments endearing.  Is this not the common perception in the UK?

        Speaking of politicians shooting themselves, this time literally, Peru's two-time ex-president Alán García committed suicide yesterday, as police were moving in to arrest him for corruption.  AG was much in the news in the 1980s, when he was Peru's celebrated "boy president."  He returned to office 20 years later, à la Jerry Brown.  There will be much discussion about his legacy and his violent end.  Ex-presidents frequently go to jail, but I can't remember the last one who killed himself.

        Prof. Hilton briefly mentioned Alán García in this post from 2004:


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  • In Defense of Julian Assange, Ilhan Omar (Massoud Malek, USA 04/17/19 6:31 AM)
    Should Julian Assange, who has been nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his services against warmongering, be protected by the First Amendment and freedom of expression, or prosecuted as a cyber-criminal?

    On 9 November 1926, the Fascist government of Benito Mussolini enacted a new wave of emergency laws, taking as a pretext an alleged attempt on Mussolini's life several days earlier. The fascist police arrested Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist philosopher, theoretician, and politician. At his trial, Gramsci's prosecutor stated, "For twenty years we must stop this brain from functioning."

    Whistleblowing is part of the legitimate architecture of constitutional democracy. WikiLeaks was producing things that people ought to know about those in power. But people in power don't like whistleblowers, therefore they must be silenced.

    What was Julian Assange's crime? He embarrassed everyone in power and humiliated Hillary Clinton, a corrupt woman who wanted to be the president of the most powerful country in the world.

    By the way, we need politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, who tell the truth. A few days ago WAIS paid homage to a bigot and anti-Muslim man who distorted everything about Islam. For example, Muslims are not true Americans or that he saw Muslims washing their faces in toilet bowls before praying.

    I advise A.J. Cave and Gary Moore to read carefully what congresswoman Omar said, before accusing her of being unpatriotic. I respectfully ask our editor to ignore distorted posts about Muslims.

    JE comments: How were A. J.'s and Gary's posts anti-Muslim? A. J. was arguing rather that Rep. Omar cannot speak for all Muslims, just as (my extrapolation) a single Christian should not be assumed to speak for every follower of Christ.

    L'affaire Omar does raise the age-old question about identity politics.  Can you criticize an individual Muslim without being accused of Islamophobia?  Likewise, can you attack Netanyahu without exposing yourself to cries of anti-Semitism?  The answer is often "no."

    Our much-missed friend Randy Black could be crass and blunt in his posts, but I assure Massoud Malek that Randy was loving of all peoples and cultures.  De mortuis nihil nisi bonum.

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    • Rep. Ilhan Omar and...Mussolini (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 04/19/19 4:47 AM)
      Our good friend Massoud Malek (April 17th) was angry for what he considered a distorted appraisal of certain US Representatives.

      If Massoud is so sensitive about how someone is viewed by public opinion, he should review the history of Mussolini, acclaimed as the Sword of Islam by the Libyans and acclaimed also by an Eritrean great-grand-niece of the Prophet.

      Oh by the way, do not pay attention to the Nobel Peace Prize. Scores of warmongers and criminals have received or have been nominated for this honor.

      JE comments:  Eugenio, I hope you won't be offended if I propose a new law.  The Battaglia Principle:  every discussion on world affairs eventually leads, somehow, to Mussolini.

      A question we've raised before on the Forum:  what does it mean to be "nominated" for the Nobel?  The prizes don't work like the Oscars.  There are no announced nominations or water-cooler discussions.

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