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Why Conservative Attacks on an Out-of-Context Ilhan Omar Quote Are Dangerous

What you can't quibble with is that right-wing terrorists are getting the subtext of these conservative messages loud and clear

Conservatives have cherry-picked four words from her speech and twisted them wildly out of context to suggest Omar was downplaying the 9/11 attacks. (Photo: Illustrated | AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, olegagafonov/iStock, javarman3/iStock)

Conservatives have cherry-picked four words from her speech and twisted them wildly out of context to suggest Omar was downplaying the 9/11 attacks. (Photo: Illustrated | AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, olegagafonov/iStock, javarman3/iStock)

On March 23, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) gave a speech about her views on Islam, religious civil rights, and the threat posed by anti-Muslim bigotry following the Christchurch massacre. More than two weeks later (following the duplicitous Andrew Breitbart script to the letter), conservatives have cherry-picked four words from her speech and twisted them wildly out of context to suggest Omar was downplaying the 9/11 attacks.

On Thursday, the New York Post blasted the quote on its front page, together with a photo of 9/11 and a screaming headline: "Here's your something: 2,977 people dead from terrorism." The none-too-subtle implication is that Omar herself is somehow responsible for 9/11, because she is a Muslim. It's absolutely vile bigotry, which could very possibly incite violence against Muslims.

So here are the details from Omar's speech (which is quite good and worth watching in full, by the way). After discussing some of the many ways rampant anti-Muslim prejudice is expressed in American society, she says the following:

Here's the truth: far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen. And frankly I'm tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and then all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties. [Ilhan Omar]

That's the source of the line conservatives are using to whip up a storm of bigotry. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) led the charge:

Read full article here.

Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper is a national correspondent at TheWeek.com. His work has appeared in the Washington Monthly, The New Republic, and the Washington Post.

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