Ilhan Omar files for divorce from husband Ahmed Hirsi

Ilhan Omar officially filed for divorce on Friday in Hennepin County District Court. The couple has three children together.
Ilhan Omar, her husband Ahmed Hirsi, and her youngest daughter come together at a campaign watch party. They hugged in celebration, Tuesday, August 9, 2016 at Kalsan Restaurant in Minneapolis. Chris Juhn for MPR News

Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has filed for divorce from her husband, Ahmed Hirsi.


Ilhan officially filed for divorce on Oct. 4 — her birthday — in Hennepin County District Court. The divorce filing cites an “irretrievable breakdown” of their marriage relationship.


Ilhan and Ahmed were married to each other religiously for nearly two decades. They legally married on Jan. 5, 2018.


Ilhan and Ahmed — who have three children together, ages 7, 13 and 16 — will both have joint legal and physical custody of their children.


“As with all marriages, this is intensely personal and a difficult time for their family,” Jaime Driggs, Ilhan’s attorney, said in a statement Monday confirming the divorce filing.


“For years, Ilhan and Ahmed have been the object of speculation and innuendo from political opponents and the media. This has taken a significant toll on Ilhan, Ahmed, and their three children,” Driggs said. “Just like any other family navigating this kind of transition, Ilhan wishes to have their privacy respected for themselves and their children and will not be commenting any further.


Ilhan’s personal life has come under scrutiny the past few years with conservative critics accusing her of improperly filing joint tax returns when she wasn’t legally married and claiming that Ilhan improperly wed her brother at one point as part of an immigration scheme. Ilhan has called that allegation false.


In August, Beth Mynett, a Washington, D.C., doctor said in a divorce filing that her husband Timothy Mynett had left her for Ilhan. Timothy Mynett is a nationally known political consultant who has worked for Ilhan’s campaign and been paid tens of thousands of dollars.


Ilhan has denied the allegation. Asked in a late August interview with WCCO if she was separated from her husband and dating someone, Ilhan replied, “No, I’m not.”


In a subsequent interview with MPR News, Ilhan said she would stop responding to questions about her personal life and marriage.


“It doesn’t matter how often I deny it and what I do, people will still ask for more or insinuate more things,” she said. “And so I have made a decision not to give it any more air and have it stay in the garbage where it belongs and continue to focus on representing the beautiful district that I represent, giving back to the country that has given me so much.”

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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