Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said in an interview that she often talks to her children about the threats she received amid a man being arrested for vandalizing her office.
“I have to have regular conversations with my kids: ‘What happens if I am killed?'” Omar said in an interview with the Star Tribune published Saturday. “I have to have regular conversations with them about how to walk down the street, things to look for.”
Omar, a Muslim Somali-American, also told the Tribune that she lacks confidence that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will address the issue of her needing extra security and protection due to the threats she received, noting how previous House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) used to handle her safety concerns.
“I don’t know if I feel confident that if things were to rise to a dangerous level again if I can rely on the current speaker to take my safety and the safety of some of my other former vulnerable colleagues [seriously],” Omar told the newspaper.
In a statement to the Tribune, a spokesperson for McCarthy’s office said that the speaker “has made clear his expectation that politics must be separated from security and has empowered the House Sergeant at Arms to work with U.S. Capitol Police to protect all Members of Congress as they deem necessary.”
Omar’s remarks come as Minnesota authorities arrested and charged a man last week, accusing him of setting fires at two Minneapolis-area mosques and vandalizing Omar’s office.
Authorities said Jackie Rahm Little, also known as Joel Arthur Tueting, was accused of starting a fire in the bathroom of the Masjid Omar Islamic Center on April 23 and starting a fire at the Masjid Al Rahma Mosque the following day. Little allegedly entered and vandalized Omar’s local office, authorities said, spray-painting the number “500” on the lawmaker’s office door.
Little was charged in a federal criminal complaint with arson.
“Mr. Little is not only responsible for multiple arson attacks against mosques in my district and the vandalism of a Somali officer’s police vehicle, but also targeted my own office with vandalism on at least one occasion,” Omar said in a statement confirming that her office was vandalized.
“We are witnessing an epidemic of hate against the Muslim community and other religious minorities in Minnesota and globally right now. This campaign of terror is designed to keep us fearful and divided,” she added.