Rep. Ilhan Omar has been accused of using “ethno-racist rhetoric” by an official of the Republic of Somaliland.
The rebuke followed Ms. Omar’s speech in Minneapolis in which she pledged her support for her native Somalia, though she later insisted her comments were misinterpreted.
Some translations of a video of the speech, which Ms. Omar delivered in Somali, said she was telling Somali Americans that her “No. 1 job” is to look out for Somalia and that one day, the country will go after other territories to “unify all Somali-speaking people.”
Rhoda Elmi, Somaliland’s deputy foreign minister, said she was “profoundly surprised, even shocked” by the rhetoric from Ms. Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who is part of Congress’ far-left “Squad.”
“The language she employed was regrettably unbecoming of both the office she holds and the constituents she represents,” the minister wrote on X. “Her expressions were lacking in common decency and revealed a significant lack of understanding of basic facts.”
Ms. Elmi represents the Republic of Somaliland, which declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 as that country collapsed into warlord-run anarchy.
Somaliland encompasses the northern part of Somalia and is the de facto government in that part of the country though no U.N. member recognizes it as a fully sovereign state. It thus has a status not unlike Taiwan, which is the only country in the world that does fully recognize it.
The government of neighboring Ethiopia recently said it would help Somaliland gain international recognition and would in return get that landlocked country some form of access to the Red Sea. The government of Somalia sees such moves as an attempt to dismember its country.
Ms. Omar was venting about that deal in her speech and also made reference to separate territorial disputes between Ethiopia and Somalia, the latter of which claims Ethiopia’s vast Ogaden region and also has territorial claims against neighboring Kenya.
Ms. Elmi said Ms. Omar’s “use of ethno-racist rhetoric didn’t escape attention and left many, with a deep sense of disappointment.”
“We hope the House leadership and her caucus will take note of her public conduct, unbecoming a United States Congresswoman nor representative of the august House she serves in,” she said.
In response to the criticism, Ms. Omar said the viral translation of her speech was “not only slanted but completely off, but I wouldn’t expect more from these propagandists.”
“I pray for them and their sanity,” she wrote on X.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said the speech showed Ms. Omar was a “terrorist sympathizer.”
“She flaunts using her position as a congresswoman to protect Somalia’s border while our border is invaded by MILLIONS of illegals who are a danger to America,” Ms. Greene, Georgia Republican, wrote on X. “These people hate America and they’re so emboldened by the Democrats’ disdain for our country, they’re not even trying to hide it anymore.”
Ms. Omar has been called out for her stances before, including most recently the war between Israel and Hamas.