Advocacy groups, progressives, and politicians are warning about the dangers of “normalized hate speech” and Islamophobia after the latest round of threats targeting Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee and one of the first Muslim congresswomen.
“The political environment, led by an Islamophobe in the White House, has normalized hate speech and emboldened bigots in their actions,” Afaf Nasher, executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), said Saturday.
“The rising threat of Islamophobia and white supremacy must be taken seriously,” he added. CAIR is the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group.
Nasher expressed relief that law enforcement tracked down Patrick Carlineo, of Addison, New York, who was arrested and charged on Friday with threatening to assault and murder Omar, a Democrat who represents Minnesota.
In a phone call to Omar’s office last month, the 55-year-old allegedly told one of her staffers: “Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she’s an (expletive) terrorist. I’ll put a bullet in her (expletive) skull.”
While being questioned by the FBI after the incident, “Carlineo told the agents he is a patriot, that he loves President Trump, and hates radical Muslims in government,” the Elmira Star Gazette reported Friday, citing the complaint.
News of Carlineo’s arrest came after The Blast reported Wednesday that, according to court records, Omar was the target of an unrelated bomb threat in mid-March when she was the featured speaker for a CAIR event at a Los Angeles hotel.
A female caller, who dialed from a blocked number, reportedly left a voicemail saying: “What would you do if I told you your hotel was going to be bombed. That is exactly what’s going to happen if you allow the likes of Ilhan Omar into your hotel. She is a…