In this file photo taken on Feb. 7, Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat of Minnesota, speaks during a press conference calling on Congress to cut funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and to defund border detention facilities.
In this file photo taken on Feb. 7, Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat of Minnesota, speaks during a press conference calling on Congress to cut funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and to defund border detention facilities. (SAUL LOEB / AFP/Getty Images)

Thanks to The Baltimore Sun for publishing Rep. Ilhan Omar’s full statement addressing CAIR. It's clear that the right wing of American is spinning Congresswoman Omar’s words by taking them out of context (“Trump tweets video comparing 9/11, Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments on Islamic-American relations,” April 13). The 3,000-some Americans who died on 9/11 were martyrs and the grounds of 9/11 are sacred grounds just like Pearl Harbor. Truth be told, from my perspective as a citizen for more than four decades, the anti-Islam portion of the United States has used the events of Sept. 11, 2001 to erode Muslim-Americans’ rights for equality and equity. I have seen it in public schools which depicted Islam as backward religion, even though it's clear that a good Muslim cannot be a good Muslim until he or she believes in Christianity and Judaism. The opposite of that is not true. My handsome three American sons had to fight their way in public schools just because of this religious anti-Islam bias. I, as a Baltimore surgeon for long decades, have seen the bias against me, for my faith and ethics. It did not matter how accomplished I became.

The hate campaign against Ilhan Omar is a hate campaign against every Muslim-American and against Muslims worldwide. It should give pause to everyone who believes that we are a nation of immigrants and that we are all immigrants who came here fleeing religious persecutions in one form or another.

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This great nation is the strongest on earth and possibly in the universe. We cannot stay strong by talking about liberty and justice for all when some of us practice hatred of Islam. The U.S. did not invade Iraq and Afghanistan to defend all of us or those killed on 9/11. It was motivated by religious crusade against Muslims and clear eagerness to steal their resources. We Americans have killed or caused to kill millions of Iraqi civilians through sanctions and two invasions. We have caused thousands of American service members to come back home on their backs or without limbs or with serious mental scars, all for greed and hatred of Islam. This nation has spent trillions of dollars on two wars and we have nothing to show for that except death and chaos in the Middle East.

Let's be frank and tell the truth the way it should be. Members of the Christian right in the U.S. will not rest until they fulfill their apocalyptic religious philosophy of the return of Israel kingdom followed by a big war in the Middle East. We cannot be strong only by our war machine. We must back it up with the moral character of our values as embedded in the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, here at home and there overseas.

Bashar Pharoan

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