Pelosi to act against Republican for Islamophobic remarks: Omar

Somali-born US congresswoman says she is ‘very confident’ House speaker will take action against congresswoman Lauren Boebert.

US Representative Ilhan Omar addresses the media and community organisers at a press conference at the vigil site for Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
Boebert described Omar, a Somali-born Muslim, as a member of a 'jihad squad' at an event in her home state of Colorado last month [File: Nicholas Pfosi/Reuters]

US Representative Ilhan Omar said that she is confident House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will take “decisive action” in the coming days against Republican congresswoman Lauren Boebert for remarks about Omar that have been decried as Islamophobic.

Omar’s comments on Sunday were the latest in chain of events that was set in motion more than a week ago when a video posted to Facebook showed Boebert speaking at an event and describing an interaction with Omar – an interaction Omar, a Somali-born American Muslim, maintains never happened.

In the video, Boebert claimed that a Capitol Police officer approached her with “fret on his face” shortly before she stepped on board a House lift and the doors closed.

“I look to my left and there she is – Ilhan Omar. And I said, ‘Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine,’” Boebert says with a laugh.

Boebert’s comment about Omar not wearing a backpack was an apparent reference to her not carrying a bomb.

Swift reaction

Reaction to the video was swift.

A first-term lawmaker who has pledged to defy Washington’s gun laws, Boebert apologised for the comments. But a phone call between the two women ended in rancour after Boebert showed no sign of remorse.

Democrats later called for the House to strip Boebert of her committee assignments for what they called anti-Muslim bigotry.

“I have had a conversation with the speaker, and I’m very confident that she will take decisive action next week,” Omar told CNN’s State of the Union programme.

“When I first got to Congress, I was worried that I wasn’t going to be allowed to be sworn in because there was a ban on the hijab. She promised me that she would take care of it. She fulfilled that promise. She’s made another promise to me that she will take care of this. And I believe her.”

There was no immediate comment from Pelosi or Boebert.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy defended Boebert last week, saying she had apologised publicly and personally to Omar.

Omar did not say what action Pelosi might take.

The Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives last month voted to formally rebuke Republican Congressman Paul Gosar for tweeting an animated video that portrayed him killing progressive Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.

It also stripped Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments earlier this year for past remarks supporting violence against Democrats.

Boebert, Gosar and Greene are all hardline conservatives and outspoken allies of former President Donald Trump.

Source: News Agencies