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Pramila Jayapal: Ilhan Omar knows to be careful about what she says

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LEESBURG, Virginia — A top Democrat in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the primary coalition for liberal members of Congress, slammed the New York Post cover displaying the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in reference to comments made by freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, but also cautioned her to be careful about what she says.

During a panel at the House Democratic Caucus‘ annual issues retreat, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington state, noted that Omar knows she needs to be mindful of her comments in the wake of heightened scrutiny from Republicans as well as violent threats against her.

“I know, she knows she has to be careful about what she says in part because of that,” Rep. Jayapal said. “And I know that there’s also a lot of scrutiny on her that is not on other people.”

Omar, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, has become a lightning rod in recent months due to controversial statements — including ones she has apologized for after accusations of anti-Semitism.

Recently, comments made at a Council on Islamic-American Relations event have been seized by critics who claim she is downplaying the 9/11 attacks.

“Far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen, and frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it,” the congresswoman said at the CAIR event. “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”

CAIR was founded in 1994; the congresswoman allegedly misspoke, according to reports.

The New York Post’s Thursday cover depicted the “some people did something” quote fragment in front of an image of the World Trade Center collapsing after planes struck the Twin Towers. The controversial cover was criticized by Omar’s Democratic colleagues.

Read more: Rep. Ilhan Omar’s errant 9/11 comments slammed by the New York Post with controversial cover

Jayapal, who characterized the New York Post cover as “outrageous,” noted that Republicans’ repeated criticisms of Omar’s controversial comments have contributed to the wave of violent threats she has received.

“We see her as a valued member of the caucus, and we’d like to focus on the issues instead of the continual Republican demonizing of certain members to the point where somebody actually threatened her with death and has been arrested for that,” she added. “Apparently that’s happening to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as well. So we need to start focusing on the issues and stay there.”

A New York man was arrested Friday for threatening to assault and murder Omar.

Omar was also recently the subject of a House resolution condemning anti-Semitism, which after objections from Democrats snowballed into an effort to condemn all forms of bigotry and hatred.

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