A New York man has been arrested and charged in connection to a threat to assault and murder Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat and Muslim lawmaker from Minnesota.
Omar was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 as one of the two first Muslim women elected to Congress.
The United States Department of Justice said in a statement that the defendant, Patrick Carlineo Jr. from Addison, New York, may be charged with a $250,000 fine and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Carlineo called one of Omar’s staff members on March 21 and asked: “Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she’s a [expletive] terrorist. I’ll put a bullet in her [expletive] skull.”
Omar’s office referred the threat to the United States Capitol Police. The Capitol Police and the FBI launched a probe into the call.
An affidavit by an FBI special agent reported that while Carlineo sounded angry during the phone call, he also spelled his name for the staff member and provided contact details.
The affidavit also stated that when interviewed by investigators Carlineo, “states that he was a patriot, that he loves the President, and that he hates radical Muslims in our government.”
In February, Omar faced criticism regarding her comments about Israel. Omar responded to a tweet from journalist Glenn Greenwald after Greenwald tweeted about House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy threatening to punish Ilhan for her criticism of Israel.
“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” tweeted Omar. Critics claim that Omar was harmfully stereotyping Jewish Americans.
In another tweet, Omar claimed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, was funding Republican support of Israel. This tweet faced bipartisan backlash.
Omar later apologized for her remarks, but stood by her criticism of the interest group. She tweeted, “Listening and learning, but standing strong,” along with a longer apology.
Most recently, Omar faced criticism about comments at a Washington bookstore called Busboys and Poets. The comment surrounds Omar’s earlier criticism.
“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. I want to ask why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the [National Rifle Association], of fossil fuel industries or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobbying group that is influencing policies?” said Omar.
Once again, Omar was accused of anti-semitism. She responded on twitter, saying, “Being opposed to [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and the occupation is not the same as being anti-Semitic. I am grateful to the many Jewish allies who have spoken out and said the same.”
Some people claim Omar’s identity as a Muslim woman makes her a target of unfair criticism.
Fellow freshman and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress Rep. Rashida Tlaib defended Omar in a tweet, saying that “[Omar’s] strength inspires me and so many. She is being targeted just like many civil rights icons before us who spoke out about oppressive policies. As she uplifts my Sity and other Palestinians in the name of justice and peace, she shows us real courage.”