Ilhan Omar’s father dies due to coronavirus complications

‘No words can describe what he meant to me and all who knew and loved him’

Andrew Naughtie
Tuesday 16 June 2020 11:45
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Coronavirus Ilhan Omar attacks Trump over Covid-19 response

Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar has announced the death of her father, Nur Omar Mohammed — reportedly due complications from a case of Covid-19.

“It is with tremendous sadness and pain to say goodbye to my father,” the Minnesota congresswoman tweeted late on Monday. “No words can describe what he meant to me and all who knew and loved him.”

Ms Omar and Mr Mohamed came to the US as refugees from Somalia in 1995 during the country’s civil war, and eventually settled in Minneapolis.

Her tweet began with the Arabic phrase “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’cuun,” meaning “Surely we belong to God and to Him shall we return”.

Ms Omar was elected along with Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib in November 2018, making them among the first two Muslim women to serve in the US Congress. Ms Omar is also the first Somali-American to serve there.

Alongside Ms Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, she is one of the so-called “Squad” of progressive congresswomen who have become a highly visible and influential force on the left of the Democratic party. She has received abundant abuse from some on the conservative right, both for her outspoken progressivism and for her religious identity.

However, Ms Omar recently drew criticism from some on the left for saying in an interview that she “believed” Tara Reade, who has accused Joe Biden of a serious sexual assault in the early 1990s. Critics pointed out that Ms Reade’s account was not yet proven, and that the accuser herself was in fact becoming less credible in many people’s eyes.

Others said the congresswoman was undermining the Democratic nominee against Donald Trump at a critical moment when the president is arguably at his weakest since his election.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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