Ilhan Omar got 'Islamophobic' and 'sexist' threats from a Washington, D.C. cab driver

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Ilhan Omar spent one part of Tuesday at the White House, and another part of it being subjected to hate speech. Facebook

Ilhan Omar was supposed to have a good day Tuesday.

One that could remind progressives there are people like her out there, ready to fight the good fight. It turned into the kind of day that reminds progressives what it is they're fighting against.

Omar was invited to the White House to participate in a strategic planning session for Democrats in the age of Donald Trump and a Republican-led Congress.

A photo from the day shows Omar joined by other progressives in a "state legislator roundtable" for a discussion of criminal justice reform. In another image, the Minneapolis representative-elect says the group was talking "middle-class economics" with Valerie Jarett, senior advisor and trusted confidante to Barack Obama.

On the trip back to her Washington, D.C. hotel, Omar's uplifting day changed to an upsetting one, thanks to a bigoted cab driver. In a Facebook post published Wednesday, Omar says she received "the most hateful, derogatory, islamophobic, sexist taunts and threats I have ever experienced." 

Omar, the first Somali-American elected to serve in an American statehouse, says the driver "called [her] ISIS and threatened to remove my hijab." Fearing for her safety, Omar made a break for it, grabbing her stuff and bolting from the cab. 

Even the politest among us will agree this asshole wasn't deserving a tip. Still, in a big-hearted moment, Omar closes her story: "I pray for his humanity and for all those who harbor hate in their hearts."

Since posting her story to Facebook, Omar has received an outpouring of support: hundreds of comments saying people are on her side, and were sorry she'd had to endure this. When one person tried apologizing on behalf of "white Americans," Omar corrected the assumption, saying her driver that day "wasn't white." 

Omar, 34, was elected to the Minneapolis district representing the University of Minnesota and surrounding areas in a resounding Election Day victory, following a contentious, three-way Democratic primary to oust Rep. Phyllis Kahn, one of the longest-serving legislators in Minnesota history. 

She'll start her first term on January 3, 2017, when the next Minnesota Legislature convenes.

Read her full story of Tuesday's encounter below:

I spent yesterday afternoon at the White House, learning about policy ideas states could implement in the areas I am passionate about. On my way to our hotel, I got in a cab and became subjected to the most hateful, derogatory, islamophobic, sexist taunts and threats I have ever experienced. The cab driver called me ISIS and threatened to remove my hijab, I wasn't really sure how this encounter would end as I attempted to rush out of his cab and retrieve my belongs. I am still shaken by this incident and can't wrap my head around how bold being are becoming in displaying their hate towards Muslims. I pray for his humanity and for all those who harbor hate in their hearts.

 


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