tl;dr version
  • Not long after Ilhan Omar's swearing-in to Congress, she was in DFW for a luncheon, and my daughter wanted to see a Muslim Congresswoman for herself, so I purchased two tickets to the event.

  • I haven't given any money to her before or since, and I haven't given money to entities that are associated with her.

  • She also hasn't given any money to me, which someone has suggested.

  • I do not support or subscribe to Ilhan Omar's political positions. Full stop.

A Message from Sadaf about Ilhan Omar

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(Originally posted July 10, 2020)

 

In 2019, for the first time in America's history, a Muslim woman was elected to the US Congress -- not just one, but two of them. Ilhan Omar was elected to represent MN-5, and Rashida Tlaib was elected to represent MI-13.

 

As an American and a Muslim woman, raising Muslim daughters in Texas, I was proud to be able to tell my girls that America really is a place where all faiths are welcomed, and that religious diversity and religious liberty (a uniquely American right guaranteed to us by the US Constitution) are supported. When a friend invited me to attend a book signing in Richardson where Rep. Omar was going to be speaking, three months after she had become a U.S. Congresswoman, my daughter wanted to go. 

 

Regardless of Ilhan Omar's politics or policy positions, her representation matters. My child deserves to see with her own eyes that a woman wearing a hijab really can earn a seat in the United States Congress. Every single American child deserves to know that they can become leaders and achievers -- regardless of her skin color, his physical abilities, how she prays, what socioeconomic condition he grew up in.

Just like not every Christian supports every policy of every other Christian legislator, and just like not every Hindu supports every policy of every other Hindu legislator, I can celebrate the first election of a woman of my faith without it meaning that I support or promote her policies.

So, I bought two tickets at $125, and attended a luncheon. That's the "big contribution": I went to a locally-hosted event where a newly-elected Congresswoman was the keynote speaker on the topic of growing up Muslim in America. (Frankly, I don't even recall her talking about policy at this event; it was more a conveyance of her personal background and journey.)

 

I don't align with Rep. Omar's belief systems or policies... but then again, plenty of people attend events without subscribing to or even knowing about every ideology of every speaker on the agenda.

The supporters of my opponent who keep bringing this up... have known about it for at least six months.  They've been posting about it and texting it around within their own circles for at least that long, because our campaign has been hearing about it for that long. We assumed they would bring it up at some point closer to the election as a way to stir up Islamophobic sentiment, and we had been warned [Edited to add: and received word again recently in July] that a crude mailer would be sent in the fall -- tying Rep. Omar to me in terrorist language. With some of Brian Livingston's financial supporters being the same entities who have funded Islamophobic and anti-minority mailers in past local elections, we have been expecting this sort of attack.

 

The person who initiated all this on Facebook yesterday as though it was news to her... had also posted online about my donations months ago.  She initiated this new "urgent alert" about "radical Muslim ideology" yet is someone who has hosted me in her home before, and who has exchanged emails with me. Obviously if she truly held any kind of concern or questions about any donation I had made, she had the ability to reach out to me. But sometimes people want attention, not answers.

I believe it is only coming back up right now as "news" in an attempt to help boost fundraising and name recognition for Brian Livingston, especially in light of my having significantly out-fundraised an incumbent.

 

The person who initiated this is also someone who donated at least $1,000 to the Brian Livingston campaign. She is politically active as a hard-right conservative, and even challenged Congressman Michael Burgess in the 2018 GOP primary, suggesting that Rep. Burgess is too liberal because he supported sanctions against Russia. These are not the values of Frisco or of Denton County -- as reflected by Rep Burgess' resounding 76% victory in that primary.

I've said repeatedly, in person and in writing, to those supporters of Brian Livingston who are fixated on this matter, that I do not subscribe to Ilhan Omar's partisanship, nor agree with her policy positions.

 

They refuse to acknowledge those denouncements, or believe me -- because that would require them to shift their narrative that I am a dangerous ideologue.

Some Livingston supporters are carefully alluding that there are "more" "hidden" Omar donations out there. This is simply false campaign smear.  I had never heard of Ilhan Omar before her election, and have never donated anything else to her, before or since.

 

I am disappointed that Brian Livingston (who is well aware of the Ilhan Omar posts, and of the coordinated effort to ascribe her policy positions to me, despite repeatedly promising me he would run a clean campaign) is not demonstrating the leadership of calling it out for himself. Maybe he finds it difficult to challenge a well-heeled donor, or the supporters of his who seek me out on the internet to attack me and at public functions to confront me.  When the PAC his supporters have created to attack me sends out a vitriolic mailer, I am sure he will claim he knew nothing about it.

 

But it is incumbent upon all of us to continue shining light onto virulent bigotry.  As the Washington Post proclaims in their mission: "Democracy Dies in Darkness."

Anyone with questions about this -- or any other accusation being lobbed at me by my opponent's surrogates to distract from their otherwise-weak campaign -- should contact me anytime.

Onward to victory,