Human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali was unreserved Friday in lambasting Democratic U.S. Rep and fellow Somali-born refugee Ilhan Omar over Omar’s recent calls to dramatically restructure the American political and economic system.
Known for her role alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the House of Representatives’ unofficial far-left coalition, “The Squad,” Omar has been no stranger to controversy since she stepped onto the national political scene in the 2018 mid-term elections.
The freshman Minnesota representative garnered more backlash than usual, however, when she made headlines earlier this week with calls for moderates within the party to abandon efforts at reformation of the American system and instead work toward “dismantling” numerous key institutions.
“As long as our economy and political systems prioritize profit without considering who is profiting, who is being shut out, we will perpetuate this inequality,” Omar said during remarks at a social justice event in her home state. “So we cannot stop at criminal justice system.”
“We must begin the work of dismantling the whole system of oppression, wherever we find it,” she added.
The claim did not sit well with Ali, who immigrated to the Netherlands from her adolescent home of Kenya in 1992 to avoid an arranged marriage and eventually transitioned into U.S. citizenship in 2013, according to Encyclopedia Brittanica.
While living in Europe and the United States, Ali has earned a master’s degree in political science, served as an elected official in the Dutch legislature, and devoted the remainder of her career to forwarding the values of Western liberty she repeatedly has credited with giving her the opportunity to climb the economic and social ladder in many years as an unestablished African immigrant.
To fundamentally rewrite the American bargain, as Omar suggested Tuesday, would represent a step in the wrong direction with regard to such liberty and opportunity, Ali told Fox News host Dana Perino on “The Daily Briefing.”
“She’s in Congress — the United States Congress — and she is saying, ‘Why don’t we dismantle the whole thing?’ ” Ali said. “It makes you wonder.”
“Why flee from Mogadishu, why flee from anarchy, why flee from oppression — and then come to the United States and do all your best to turn Minnesota and the U.S. into Mogadishu?” the human rights activist asked.
“It’s one of the things I’d like to ask her.”
Despite drastically different perspectives, Omar and Ali are hardly dissimilar in their immigrant upbringings.
Born in Somalia 13 years after Ali, Omar too came to the West an asylum-seeker, fleeing her war-torn home in 1995 alongside her parents after four years in a Kenyan refugee camp, BBC News reported.
Also managing a college education and a seat in the national legislature of her new homeland, Omar, however, has hardly made a name for herself praising the Western system.
In fact, numerous times since taking office, she has earned the ire of patriotic and conservative Americans for standing with newly elected progressives in advocating for mass restructuring of the U.S. electoral and economic systems.
Among the most radical items on Omar’s agenda are the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a variety of law enforcement agencies, as well as taxation of America’s investors and entrepreneurs at a rate of up to 90 percent with regard to income.
According to Ali, the congresswoman is not entirely off base in the pursuit of change. All systems require tinkering. But revolution, she said, is a different story.
“I don’t think we need a revolution. I think what we have — the American Declaration [of Independence], the American Constitution, the American values — our system gives us the tools to address social injustice, to address inequality, to address all the issues that we face,” Ali told Fox News. “And I think these movements — and Ilhan is just one of these people symbolizing that — I think we need to resist and to say, ‘Look, you’ve come to America in search of freedom, you’ve come to America in search of equality, we find it here. Our system is not perfect, we can fix it, and we do it through conversations.’
“What we are seeing is a very loud minority who are saying, ‘Let us not seek solutions to the system we have, but let’s dismantle it,’ and I am passionately against it,” Ali added.