FBI probing recent death threat against Rep. Ilhan Omar

The FBI's Minneapolis field office confirms it and other law enforcement agencies are aware of the threat and looking into it. Ilhan posted a copy of the threat on Twitter.
From left, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, flanked by Rose Roach (left) and U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, speaks on a panel during the Medicare for All Town Hall meeting at Sabathani Community Center in Minneapolis on July 18, 2019. Caroline Yang for MPR News

The FBI is looking into an anonymous death threat message against U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar that said she would not make it back to Washington, D.C., and would likely be killed at the Minnesota State Fair.


Ilhan posted the message Wednesday on Twitter. Part of it says: “We have a very capable person with a very big ‘Gun.’ They say we can’t get the Somali Stink out of the clean Minnesota air, but we’re going to enjoy the adventure.”


Ilhan, a Democrat, posted the threat messages hours after Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore urged her to “go back to Somalia.”


“I hate that we live in a world where you have to be protected from fellow humans,” Ilhan tweeted. “I hated it as a child living through war and I hate it now. But until deranged people like this stop threatening my life and the lives of others, I have to accept the reality of having security.” 


In a statement, Kevin Smith, public affairs officer for the FBI’s Minneapolis field office, said his agency and other law enforcement agencies are aware of the threat and looking into it. 


The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, called for 24-hour government security for Ilhan. 


“We condemn this threat of a mass shooting targeting Representative Ilhan Omar and urge our nation’s leaders to speak out against the growing bigotry and violence experienced by minority communities in an increasingly toxic political environment nationwide,” Nihad Awad, CAIR’s national executive director, said in a statement.. “The alleged assassin must be brought to justice to ensure her safety and that of all visitors to the Minnesota State Fair.”


Ilhan has been the target of racist attacks from President Donald Trump and several death threats.


In February, a death threat was scrawled onto a bathroom stall at a Twin Cities gas station with the words “Assassinate Ilhan Omar.”

Mukhtar M. Ibrahim is the founder, editor and executive director of Sahan Journal, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to chronicling the struggles, successes and transformations of Minnesota’s immigrant and refugee communities.


He previously worked as a staff writer for the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio News. He has also written for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Al Jazeera English, BuzzFeed News and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.


Mukhtar is among the first of his generation’s professional, accomplished journalists of Somali background in Minnesota and in the country. His leadership has been recognized with many awards and accomplishments and is sought-after speaker and panelist at leading institutions, organizations and conferences around the United States.

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