Pro-Israel Muslim Immigrant Challenges Ilhan Omar in Minnesota District

Nov 3, 2023 | Politics

As the Israel-Hamas conflict rages on and the 2024 elections draw closer, the issue has become a significant point of contention in campaigns across the United States. In one Minnesota district, which encompasses Minneapolis and boasts a significant Muslim population, two Muslim women with contrasting views on the Israel-Hamas conflict are vying for a House seat. This marks the first time two Muslim Americans have gone head-to-head for a congressional position.

Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Dalia al-Aqidi, a Republican and seasoned broadcast journalist, are engaged in a unique political faceoff. Al-Aqidi, a native of Iraq who fled Saddam Hussein\’s oppressive regime in 1988, believes that their status as Muslim women should not be the focus. Instead, she emphasizes the importance of addressing critical issues.

Al-Aqidi\’s campaign centers on her support for school choice, opposition to teaching Critical Race Theory in schools, addressing inflation concerns, and securing the nation\’s borders. She vehemently supports Israel and opposes the idea of Islamophobia. For her, identity politics should not play a role in the discussion.

Al-Aqidi\’s strong support for Israel contrasts with the views of most Arab Americans, where a new poll by the Arab American Institute found strong backing for the Palestinian cause. Arab Americans have called for a ceasefire in Gaza and a halt to U.S. military aid to Israel. Furthermore, there has been a sharp decline in support for President Joe Biden among Arab Americans due to his unwavering support for Israel during the conflict.

Al-Aqidi decided to run for office because she firmly believed that Representative Ilhan Omar did not represent the values and interests of the people in her district. She contends that Omar\’s stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict, characterized by her refusal to condemn Hamas and her vote against a House resolution supporting Israel, is deeply problematic.

Minnesota\’s fifth district is not the hotbed of antisemitism that people might assume, according to Al-Aqidi. As she returns to the district, she engages with constituents who express their support for her campaign. Her focus extends beyond the Israel-Hamas conflict; she is also committed to addressing public safety and security concerns, particularly in the context of Omar\’s role in advocating for defunding the police.

The race between Ilhan Omar and Dalia al-Aqidi, both Muslim women, is not about identity politics, as far as Al-Aqidi is concerned. She aims to prioritize the needs of her constituents over religious or ethnic identity.

As the nation becomes increasingly divided over the Israel-Hamas conflict, concerns about potential censorship and heightened polarization in the lead-up to the 2024 presidential election are mounting. Al-Aqidi argues that conservatives are the primary targets of cancel culture and censorship. She underscores the importance of distinguishing between legitimate criticism of radical Islamism and vilifying Muslims as a whole.

Dalia al-Aqidi\’s journey from being a war reporter who covered terrorist attacks to running for a congressional seat underscores her commitment to addressing the complexities of terrorism and extremism. She emphasizes that she stands firmly against violence in all forms and is clear in her support for Israel.

While the conflict in the Middle East is heart-wrenching, Al-Aqidi believes that the victims are not the result of Israeli actions but rather the consequences of actions taken by Hamas. Her unique perspective, influenced by her experience as a war reporter, frames her outlook on the situation.

As the campaign unfolds, concerns of increased Islamophobia and antisemitism loom large. Al-Aqidi acknowledges the potential for growing tensions but refuses to conflate anti-Muslim sentiment with antisemitism. She underscores the importance of addressing these issues separately while emphasizing the value of all lives, including Jewish lives.

Trending  Now