That Ilhan Omar! She's ON to Something!

Brian Thu, 2019-03-07 07:09
US Congress—It's about the Benjamins!

(US Representative Ilhan Omar, the first female Muslim ever to be elected to the US Congress, is in a heap of trouble over her statement of the bleedingly obvious—that donations to Congresspeople from the American Israel Political Action Committee influence their views on Israel in Congressional votes. Perish the thought!

I should probably make clear that, unlike most of those commenting on Rep. Omar's "Benjamins" comment, I don't see it as critical of AIPAC. It's actually a critique of her fellow Congresspeople, those who take the money, not those who give it. That's why her fellow Congresspeople are so butt-hurt about the whole thing. If you think they really care about Jews as Jews, well, I've got an ocean-view investment on the Pacific Gyre you might be interested in.)


I've mixed feelings about her. She's progressive on most issues. And she's been a tough inquisitor in Congress unlike the old white men. But she's also the new fresh and pretty face of mainstreaming orthodox Islam. (Rashida Tliab doesn't do the hijab so you'd think she was less orthodox though some her supporters don't see her that way, anyway.) I can go on and on why mainstreaming isn't a good idea – including, any criticism of the tradition gets labeled Islamophobia – but it does make the idea of creating religious litmus tests for our politicians seem more salient. How committed are they to their traditions? How far are they willing to go to "fulfill" the scriptures they claim on the immutable, inerrant word of the Creator? Does she also "hate" the unbeliever and infidel as does their diety, etc? Such tests would be particularly relevant for all the Abrahamics, esp if the candidate/officeholder is on the orthodox side, as well as Hindus (if that day ever comes). 

However, none of the above has anything to do with whether she's onto something or not.