Minnesota Lawmaker Says DC Cab Driver Targeted Her With Islamophobic Threats

Leila Navidi

A female Somali-American state representative-elect from Minnesota was subjected to Islamophobic and sexist threats during a visit to Washington, D.C., this week, she wrote in a Wednesday Facebook post.

Ilhan Omar, elected to represent Minneapolis, wrote that she visited the White House on Tuesday for a policy training session with Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. After the session wrapped, she got into a cab to her hotel. According to Omar, the driver then subjected her “to the most hateful, derogatory, islamophobic, sexist taunts and threats I have ever experienced.”

She said he called her “ISIS” and threatened to take off her hijab. Fearing for her safety, Omar said she rushed out of the taxi.

In response to a well-wisher on her Facebook page, Omar said that she planned to report the incident once she returned to Minneapolis. She said she didn’t feel safe enough to do so in D.C. because the cab driver knew the hotel where she was staying.

The reply didn’t specify if she planned to file a report with police or with the cab company.

Omar will represent the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party in Minnesota's House of Representatives. She is the first Somali-American Muslim woman elected to public office.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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