Ghada Wahdan

As an American-Arab Muslim immigrant woman, I’ve had it with the media circus surrounding two new congresswomen from Minnesota and Michigan who share aspects of my background but none of my values.

Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), self-promoting provocateurs with their inflammatory comments on social media or at fundraisers for terror sympathizers, don’t speak for me — or for millions of my compatriots across this country.

Rep. Omar has outraged countless Americans with her anti-Semitic tweets (uncondemned by congressional leadership), her sneering dismissal of the 9/11 attacks as “Some people did something,” and her allegation that the U.S. had only itself to blame for Black Hawk Down where 18 servicemen were killed.

Rep. Tlaib, not to be outdone, taunted her fellow Democrats that it was time to “impeach that ,” referring to the President of the United States. Allowable speech in this country, it was a statement that would guarantee her a prison sentence or the death penalty if spoken in the Middle Eastern lands she hold so dear.

Tlaib is a regular on national TV, supporting Omar and defending her “sister’s” offensive statements, lauding her for speaking “truth to power.” I call it speaking lies to foment division. Talib is quick to label anyone who criticizes her and Omar as a racist, or worse, an Islamophobe — whatever that is.

I cringe every time I hear the two of them go off this way.

Surely, out of the millions of Muslim diaspora living in the United States, capable, reasonable, patriotic, Omar and Tlaib can’t be the best we can come up with to represent us in Congress.

I believe the offensive narrative they chose to engage in, whether to attack the United State or Israel, reflects poorly on the majority Muslim population in the United States, and could cause more hate crimes targeting peaceful Muslims who do not share their views.

Many Muslims, as did my own parent, chose to immigrate to this country, assimilate, pursue the American dream, and accomplish what seemed impossible to do back home. America opened its arms and gave us political and economic opportunity, freedom of speech and religion, and pathways for us to rise — especially women — and become whatever we want to be, even hold an elective office.

I know many proud American Muslims who serve this country with honor in the private sector, in every branch in the military, and in government. The vast majority harbor no hatred towards this country or Israel, no ill will toward fellow citizens who happen to disagree with them. They just want to live peacefully.

The United States is not perfect, but it is the best country on God’s earth. A lot of us feel moved to protect her and defend her from the hatemongers and troublemakers of the world, even if — as sadly seems to be the case right now — some of them are cloaked with the title of U.S. Representative.

As lot of us long to see the Muslim diaspora have a more constructive and honorable representation in Congress than the embarrassing individuals currently serving. We believe that keeping silence in the face on the offensive and Omar’s and Tlaib’s toxic narrative is dangerous to our community and the American identity we’ve worked so hard to obtain.

I’m speaking out because I believe we owe it to America to speak up and push back on the congresswomen. Simply put, Omar and Tlaib are not the face of American Muslims. We can do better for our country.

Ghada Wahdan is a Counterterrorism Intelligence Analyst and a Subject Matter Expert (SME) on international terrorism. Her Sunni Muslim family immigrated to Colorado a few years before Desert Storm.

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