Four words from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) have generated a complete frenzy.
At a fundraiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) last month, Omar said the organization "was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties." Some conservative critics quickly zeroed in on the "some people did something" phrase, painting it as her description of 9/11 as a whole and questioning whether Omar was "an American first."
Most of these criticisms didn't go beyond tweets or Fox News commentary, but the New York Post took it several steps further.
As The Washington Post's fact checker points out, Omar's description comes out of context from her full speech, which argued that American Muslims should not lose their civil liberties because of unfair vilification of the Islamic community as a whole. Muslims in America "have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen," Omar said immediately before the line that went viral, praising CAIR for taking action against that.
Contrary to what Omar said, CAIR was founded in 1994 and, as Omar's spokesperson told the Post she meant to say, "doubled in size after the Sept. 11 attacks." CAIR was labeled a "terrorist organization" in the initial tweet that clipped Omar's words into a short video, but the Post calls it "an aggressive Muslim civil liberties organization modeled on the Anti-Defamation League."
Omar responded to critics by tweeting that they were spreading "dangerous incitement" and said she'd received "death threats" since the video received widespread attention.