GOP Congressman Invokes 9/11 in Islamophobic Attack Against Ilhan Omar

A Republican congressman is being widely criticized for using an Islamophobic attack against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), a Muslim congresswoman who is often attacked by the right over her religious views.

Omar tweeted on Friday about a recent incident on the U.S. Capitol grounds, in which a person rammed his vehicle into a barricade near the building and lunged at Capitol police officers with a knife. One of the responding officers died as a result, and the suspect also died, after he was shot by police on Friday.

“Heartbroken to learn another [Capitol Police Officer] was killed while protecting the Capitol,” Omar tweeted that same afternoon. “My thoughts and prayers go out to the officer’s family and the entire Capitol Police force.”

Omar also highlighted how the attack could have been different had the suspect been armed with a gun. “The death toll would have been worse if the assailant had an AR-15 instead of a knife,” she wrote.

That prompted Rep. Greg Murphy (R-North Carolina) to tweet a response of his own directed toward Omar invoking the attacks of September 11, 2001.

“Would have been worse @Ilhan if they had been flying planes into the buildings also,” Murphy wrote.

The Republican lawmaker deleted his tweet shortly after writing it, but screenshots were saved and shared afterward. Many Muslim people still face bigotry and violence because of Islamophobia that arose after the 9/11 attack, and Murphy’s attack on Omar was a continuation on that theme.

North Carolina Democratic State Sen. Jeff Jackson, who has served alongside Murphy in the state legislature, blasted the congressman for his remarks.

“You just invoked Sept. 11 to attack a Muslim member of Congress,” Jackson, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in the state, said. “It doesn’t matter how strongly you disagree with her on policy, you should represent our state better than this, @RepGregMurphy.”

Robert S. McCaw, who serves as director of Government Affairs with The Council on American-Islamic Relations, also commented on Murphy’s tweet.

“CAIR strongly condemns Representative Murphy for invoking the September 11th terror attacks while insulting a member of Congress who is Muslim,” McCaw said in a statement. “It is disrespectful to the victims of the 9/11 attacks, to their families and to the countless Muslim and other minority hate crime victims who were targeted in the wake of 9/11. His bigoted comments only serve to perpetuate the climate of hate that we are witnessing nationwide.”

Although Murphy deleted his tweet, he has not yet commented on it or responded to the criticisms he’s received over his remarks as of Monday morning.

Murphy has made similarly bigoted statements against Democratic women in politics in the past. Last fall during the presidential race, Murphy claimed that now-Vice President Kamala Harris, was only picked by President Joe Biden to be his running mate “for her color and her race.” Harris has served as United States Senator and Attorney General for the state of California, among other roles.