By this headline, let´s not embrace the x-ray vision of Superman, attempting to see Ilhan´s hair. Rather, let´s embrace the superhero intellectual abilities of Sage (a.k.a. Tessa).

Breaking News: Ilhan Omar tweeted, “We cannot hand pick leaders for other countries on behalf of multinational corporate interests. The legislature cannot seize power from the President, and Venezuela’s Supreme Court has declared their actions unconstitutional,” apparently criticizing Trump´s support of a coup against the Venezuelan President. This isn´t the first time some media and public have caught one of Ilhan´s tweets or Instagram posts and gobbled it up like a frog only to spit it back out because it tasted too bitter for them?!

In fact, Ilhan has been accused of being “homophobic” and “anti-Catholic” due to media claims and some people who like to twist words around to make them sound exactly how they want them to sound-bippidi boppidi boo, let´s watch the pumpkin grow! Oh, it grows!

For some, it doesn´t matter whether or not the words “homophobic” or “anti-Catholic” came out of Ilhan´s mouth, but these rumors that poof out of thin air make room for other ridiculous claims like, “Ilhan hates Jews” or “Ilhan is a despicable mother.”

And, I sit here, awe-struck at how some people still cannot see past her headscarf. Let´s try to see past it, shall we?

Ilhan is a Somali-American. Note, the word “American.” She is a woman, a sister, a mother, a wife and a daughter. Sound “human” enough? She was one of the two Muslims, alongside Rashida Tlaib, chosen in 2018, to represent the 116th Congress. Ah…”Muslim”…. Yet, Ilhan is attacked because she wears the visible symbol of Islam on her head. I know this because I read the comments under her posts almost every day.

Not to mention, in 2009, President Obama swore in as “Barack HUSSEIN Obama,” yet little to none dared say anything against the newly-elected President of the USA.

Nevertheless, Ilhan´s visible headscarf has had both positive and negative effects: It has made a difference for Muslim and Hijabis (women with headscarves) worldwide, who aspire to become just as brave and powerful as Ilhan. Meanwhile, it makes people who choose prejudice above humanity, extremely angry.

Let´s try to look past Ilhan´s headscarf, shall we? Ilhan was chosen by the people of Minnesota, by “popular vote.” Congress is made up of the U.S. Senate (100) and The U.S. House of Representatives (435) and have the power to create and pass laws. Among the 535 people in Congress, Ilhan is most certainly not the ONLY ONE who believes, for example, the U.S. leading a coup against the Venezuelan President is (quoting Ilhan´s twitter post) a “disastrous intervention.” Sitting on Congress also means she especially has a right to a political opinion especially when it comes to serious issues about the government, the President, the laws and the country.

Let´s try to look past Ilhan´s headscarf, shall we? Freedom of expression or freedom of speech is clearly stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as well as the United States Constitution. Interesting how Ilhan has the right to a political opinion. Interesting how she openly tries to get people to recognize what she believes is wrong or right, including false claims about her being “homophobic.” Interesting, yet…brave, considering the amount of hate posts she receives each day.

Interesting how, STILL, some people choose not to look past her headscarf and bring the religion of Islam or Judaism into a conversation under Ilhan´s posts on Social Media. Interesting how some people build a wall around themselves as if to protect themselves from a piece of cloth that is actually…quite frankly…ONLY a piece of cloth, nothing more, nothing less.

Interesting how some people have made up their minds and no matter what I say or write, no matter what YOU (who support Ilham Omar) say or write, they will not climb over that wall. You might find it interesting how I used the “wall” analogy here. But, let´s try to look past Ilhan´s headscarf, shall we?

After a 181-year ban on headwear in Congress, Ilhan Omar was the first to swear in, on the Qurán, wearing a hijab.

“No one puts a scarf on my head but me. It’s my choice – one protected by the first amendment. And this is not the last ban I’m going to work to lift,” she tweeted.

Rumki Chowdhury
Rumki Chowdhury

ONLINE ASSISTANT EDITOR FOR HAYATI MAGAZINE, PUBLISHED AUTHOR, POET AND JOURNALIST WITH AN MA IN ENGLISH LITERATURE. BORN IN BANGLADESH, RAISED IN USA, LIVED AND STUDIED IN UK AND NOW, AN ENGLISH TEACHER IN SWEDEN. ALSO, MARRIED AND MOTHER OF THREE DAUGHTERS.

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