Friday, January 28, 2022

Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Hometown Newspaper Investigated Claims She Married Her Brother

Ilhan Omar
Omar in a social media posting with her children and her first and current husband Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi

*When Donald Trump recently suggested Rep. Ilhan Omar was “married to her brother,” he reignited a rumor that first emerged during the congresswoman’s 2016 campaign.

Now, inquiring minds are pressing for the truth, as Omar has failed to “fully disprove the allegations of bigamy and fraternal marriage,” Politifact writes.

Trump mentioned the claim while speaking to reporters on July 17. “There’s a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to her brother. I know nothing about it,’ he said.

Omar’s hometown paper, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, attempted to solve the mystery but noted in a June 23 article that it “could neither conclusively confirm nor rebut the allegation” that the congresswoman marred to her sibling.  

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Here are some of the key points from their report (via Politifact):

In 2002, Omar, then 19, religiously married Ahmed Hirsi, but not legally. Omar and Hirsi had two children, but in 2008, they obtained a religious divorce. The following year, in 2009, Omar married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi both religiously and legally.

Little is known about Elmi, other than that Omar has referred to him as a “British citizen” and that he attended high school in the Minneapolis area and, like Omar, later attended North Dakota State University.

In 2011, Omar and Elmi divorced religiously, but remained married legally. In 2012, Omar and Hirsi reconciled and had a third child. In 2017, Omar legally divorced Elmi, and the following year, she legally married Hirsi.

In 2016, as Omar was seeking a state House seat, the conservative website AlphaNewsMN, followed by other ideological sites, posted a screenshot of an Instagram post — since deleted — that was allegedly uploaded by Elmi on June 12, 2012, shortly after Omar gave birth to her third child. The caption of the photograph identified Elmi as holding the baby girl, calling her “nieces.” To some, this suggested a sibling relationship.

Omar has denied the allegation that Elmi is her brother — she has called the charges “disgusting lies,” the AP reported — but has not provided further documentation to debunk it.

Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar’s second husband Ahmed Nur Said Elmi in a recent social media post – he is a British national and lives in London

Following the Star-Tribune’s investigation into the mystery, here’s what they told Politifact.

Why was this something you felt was important to investigate?

My interest as an editor began with the silence she has maintained about her improper tax filings. That got my attention. She would say only that she had corrected the 2014 and 2015 tax filings and would not divulge anything about why she had filed taxes with a man she was not married to when she was separated but still married to someone else. It was a natural question: Who is Elmi and how does he fit into her life? We were not getting a lot of answers.

How much cooperation did you get from Omar?

It came up when she was running for Congress last year. One of our reporters confronted her about it last October. She did not show us the immigration records we asked for, only a photo of them on a cellphone.

We’ve asked her these questions, and also asked her to make her father available. We’ve tried to reach Elmi. We’ve tried to reach her sisters. Her family could put this (the question of Elmi’s relationship to Omar) to rest easily. No one will talk to us. I wish we could send a reporter to Mogadishu (Somalia) but we don’t have the bandwidth.

What kind of reaction have you had since the most recent story came out?

We have been slammed by both sides. On the left, people are saying, “Why are you dignifying these unproven allegations?” To which I reply, “Look at the tax filings — it would be journalistic negligence if we didn’t try to find out what’s behind it.”

On the right, the complaint has been that we did too little, too late: “This has been the story for years — where have you been?”

 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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1 COMMENT

  1. How about some INTEGRITY? He didn’t RE-IGNITE anything, he was specifically asked a question by a reported. He said he didn’t know anything about it, he had HEARD that. EVERYONE had heard that.

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