Looks like I may soon face the same challenge as an antisemitic co-worker years ago at a medical publishing company in New Jersey, all thanks to U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar.
I was passing through a hallway when my uncollegial colleague blurted out to a small crowd that she felt uncomfortable when some Jews and Arabs argued about Israel, and she did not want to get in the middle of it.
I assumed that she said it for my benefit, and I was tempted to respond for her benefit, but I held my tongue.
Now I will need to avoid being in the middle when Christians sing the praises of Jesus and Muslims conduct a competing prayer session whether 30,000 feet in the air or on earth. Or an insane asylum.
Omar, who has spent her political career sniping at Jews and Israel, is now taking on Christianity, most likely the more conservative brand. She can afford to write off the Jewish vote in Minneapolis and its suburbs, but Christianity?
The Christian community, at last check, comprises 76 percent of the national population. We must take into account that Christian denominations are hardly unanimous in their approach to faith. Many Christians accuse other Christians of not being real Christians and vice versa.
The April 18 New York Post reports that Omar, a Muslim, shared a video in which two people are seen singing Christian songs in the aisle on an EasyJet flight, as the Daily Dot made public.
“I think my family and I should have a prayer session next time I am on a plane,” Omar said. “How do you think it will end?”
It may end with my next nervous breakdown. The last thing I need is to walk into the middle of two competing prayer sessions. Secular disagreement with Conservative Christians has long been acrimonious over proselytizing and political issues.
Nor am I comfortable with being around anyone who would proclaim the “evil doings of Israel,” as Omar has done.
In the famous-last-words department, if I was able to relive the experience in the New Jersey office, I would have asked my co-worker to tell me what she was talking about and probably explained in a factual manner that many extremist Muslims despise anyone who does not embrace Islam. It just happens that 6.5 million Jews now live in a country smack in the center of Muslim-dominated countries.
Their likely plan is to destroy Israel and then move on to other countries dominated by Christianity and other religions until the world is Muslim. They already discriminate against not only Christians but other religions.
My intention would not be to convince her but some of the others that she is misrepresenting the situation. It would be nice if she changes her mind, but I would be satisfied if she had exposed her small-minded attitudes to her colleagues.
The video – captioned “Worshipping Jesus 30,000 feet in the air” – was shot and posted on Instagram on April 9 by Jack Jensz Jr., who founded a group called Kingdom Realm Ministries, the Post reports.
Predictably, not only Republicans but Democrats would not let Omar get past this. Cicely Davis, who is challenging Omar in the Democratic primary for Congress, tweeted that “Qatar, a country you’re very familiar with – plays Islamic prayers on the intercom before takeoff on their planes.”
She continued, “They have a designated prayer area & coordinates for Mecca are posted on the screens. It’s no problem. The issue is you hate Christians & Jews & lots of Muslims.”
According to Newsweek, Vernon Jones, a Republican congressional candidate in Georgia, tweeted, “Why do you hate Christians, Ilhan? If the freedom of religion we enjoy here in America disturbs you, feel free to pack your bags and head back to Somalia, Sudan or wherever you came from.”
The congresswoman’s family moved from Somalia to Minnesota when she was a child. Jones, who is also Black, reliably complies with GOP ideology. Denying comparisons between gay and Black causes, Jones said, “I don’t know what you are unless you tell me what you are, if you’re gay. But when I walk in that room, you can tell that I’m Black. I’m Black from cradle to grave, let’s not get that confused.”
Normally, Omar cannot be blamed for her anger that a religious faction would invade the privacy of passengers in a public space. The airline may be privately owned, but it is answerable to the Federal Aviation Administration and benefits from many services provided on the federal, state and local government levels.
Yet if Omar does not enjoy aggravation from another religion, she must consider what she has done to American Jews for more than three years.