OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
A pro-Israel Muslim immigrant from Iraq and longtime broadcast journalist in Minnesota has announced she will run against Rep. Ilhan Omar next year after labeling her the most antisemitic member of Congress.
Dalia al-Aqidi, a Republican who immigrated to the U.S. from Iraq to escape then-dictator Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime, and Omar have “staunchly opposing viewpoints on the Israel-Hamas conflict,” Politico reported last week.
Politico noted the historical nature of the contest:
This is the first time two Muslims Americans are running against each other for a congressional seat, and it’s in a district with a significant Muslim population.
But Al-Aqidi, a native of Iraq who fled Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime in 1988, says that distinction shouldn’t matter. She’d rather focus on the issues: She’s pro-school choice, wants to eliminate Critical Race Theory from being taught in classrooms (even though it is mainly taught just at the university level), reduce inflation and secure our borders.
Above all, however, she is staunchly pro-Israel and rejects allegations of ‘Islamophobia’ because she won’t play the “identity politics game.”
“My religion should not matter to anyone but myself,” al-Aqidi told Politico’s Women Rule column. “If I was a white woman, if I was a black woman, if I was a white man, saying what I’m saying now? I’d be called a white supremacist, a hater, a racist, a bigot.”
The GOP contender launched her campaign about a month ago because she strongly believes that the people in her Minneapolis district should not be represented by Omar, who she has accused of being Congress’ biggest anti-Semite after voting against a resolution to support Israel after it was attacked by the Palestinian-backed Hamas.
In a statement last week issued by her office, Omar said while she “mourns the lives taken by Hamas,” she declined to support the resolution because it failed to “acknowledge and mourn the lives of Palestinians taken by the Israeli military.”
“While I was here, Ilhan Omar voted against the U.S. House resolution that condemned Hamas. And that tells you a lot about who Ilhan Omar is,” Al-Aqidi told Politico while she was touring Israel late last month. “I come here as a Muslim, as someone who understands what it means to be a radical Muslim. Unfortunately, the majority of people in the United States cannot comprehend the difference between being a Muslim or being an extremist.”
“And, of course, that came from the narrative of (Rep.) Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar, that if you criticize radical Islamism, it means you criticize Muslims. For years, they’ve been trying to indoctrinate the Muslim community and the Middle Eastern community in the United States,” she said.
“I’m Muslim, and I was here when 9/11 happened. I was not muted just because I was a Muslim. I was not mistreated because of my identity or because of my religion. I love America. I came to America because I fled the hostility and oppression in the Middle East. I don’t want to come here and be oppressed by so-called Muslims,” Al-Aqidi added.
In an interview with Fox News from Israel earlier this week, she took sharp aim at Hamas.
“I’m telling you, Hamas is a terrorist group, and whoever supports these terrorists don’t belong to the United States of America, the land of the free,” she told the network on Tuesday, per the Washington Times. “When they call for a free Palestine and call ‘from river to the sea,’ this is a call for a genocide. Black Lives Matter and all these far-left progressives have no clue what they’re chanting about.”
She told Fox that she went to Israel to show the country’s residents that “we, the people of Minnesota’s 5th (Congressional) District, are not like her. We support the Jewish people, and we are fighting the same fight.”