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Rep. Ilhan Omar at a press conference.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) attends a bill enrollment ceremony for the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in the Capitol on June 17, 2021. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Omar Hangs Up After Boebert Uses Call to Double Down on 'Outright Bigotry and Hate'

"Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments."

Jessica Corbett

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar confirmed Monday that she promptly ended a call with Rep. Lauren Boebert because the Colorado Republican refused to publicly apologize for her recent remarks about the Minnesota Democrat and instead clung to her Islamophobic rhetoric.

"Spewing this hate is as racist as it is dangerous."

Boebert has faced intense criticism the past few days for a recording of her joking to a crowd that Omar, who is Muslim, was a suicide bomber. Critics have also called out House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), with Omar saying that his "silence speaks volumes."

"Today, I graciously accepted a call from Rep. Lauren Boebert in the hope of receiving a direct apology for falsely claiming she met me in an elevator, suggesting I was a terrorist, and for a history of anti-Muslim hate," Omar said in a statement Monday.

"Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments," Omar explained. "She instead doubled down on her rhetoric and I decided to end the unproductive call."

The Minnesota Democrat continued:

I believe in engaging with those we disagree with respectfully, but not when that disagreement is rooted in outright bigotry and hate.

To date, the Republican Party leadership has done nothing to condemn and hold their own members accountable for repeated instances of anti-Muslim hate and harassment. This is not about one hateful statement or one politician; it is about a party that has mainstreamed bigotry and hatred. It is time for Republican Leader McCarthy to actually hold his party accountable.

Boebert said in a video after their call Monday that "as a strong, Christian woman who values faith deeply, I never want anything I say to offend someone's religion—so I told her that. Even after I put out a public statement to that effect, she said that she still wanted a public apology because what I had done wasn't good enough. So I reiterated to her what I had just said."

"She kept asking for a public apology, so I told Ilhan Omar that she should make a public apology to the American people for her anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-police rhetoric," Boebert added. "She continued to press and I continued to press back. And then, Rep. Omar hung up on me."

Several House progressives who belong to the informal group known as the Squad circulated Omar's new statement, blasted Boebert's latest comments, and demanded action from McCarthy.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) called the GOP congresswoman's "harassment" of her fellow Squad member "dangerous," warning that it puts the lives of all Muslims at risk.

"This isn't an accident: Targeting Muslims and immigrants is at the center of right-wing strategy," said Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), noting that Omar is both Muslim and an immigrant—she was born in Somalia and her family sought asylum in the United States.

"Ignoring this vile behavior," Bowman added, "is ignoring this strategy and attempt to oppress."

"Instead of apologizing for her bigoted, anti-Muslim remarks, Rep. Boebert doubled down," tweeted the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which has nearly 100 members including Omar.

"Our Muslim colleagues should be able to do their jobs without facing harassment and hate—whether in Congress or any other workplace. This behavior demands accountability," the caucus added, directing the call to action at McCarthy.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)—another frequent GOP target—and Omar were the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.

"Boebert's Islamophobia is disgraceful to the office she holds," Tlaib said Monday. "Spewing this hate is as racist as it is dangerous. Instead of focusing on her residents, she's fearmongering."

Tlaib added that "I'm proud to stand with my sister in service… against such racist and hateful attacks."

Boebert also faced fresh criticism beyond the halls of Congress. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to censure her.

"Enough is enough. Accusing one of the first American Muslim women elected to Congress of being un-American and sympathizing with terrorists is a disgusting new low for Rep. Boebert," CAIR director of government affairs Robert McCaw said in a statement Monday.

McCaw declared that "Republican leaders of Congress, starting [with] Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, must condemn this bigotry and demand that Rep. Boebert immediately, clearly, and publicly apologize."

"If she once again refuses to do so, Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer should move to censure her," he added. "Failing to do so would signal that Islamophobia is an acceptable form of bigotry in the halls of Congress."


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