by WorldTribune Staff, February 21, 2020
Rep. Ilhan Omar married her brother in order to get him the documentation he needed to go to school in the United States, a member of the Minneapolis Somali community said, according to a report.
Abdihakim Osman, who claims to be a friend of Omar, “is the first person to go on record to speak of how Omar said she wanted to get her brother papers so he could stay in the United States, at a time when she was married to her first husband Ahmed Hirsi,” the Daily Mail reported.
The report quoted Osman as saying that “no one” knew about Omar marrying her brother Ahmed Elmi.
“When [Hirsi] and Ilhan got married, a lot of people were invited. It was a big Islamic wedding uniting two large clans in the Minneapolis community,” Osman said. “When she married Elmi, no one even knew about it.”
“People began noticing that Ilhan and Southside (Hirsi) were often with a very effeminate young guy [Ahmed Elmi],” Osman said. “He was very feminine in the way he dressed — he would wear light lipstick and pink clothes and very, very, short shorts in the summer. People started whispering about him.”
“[Hirsi] and Ilhan both told me it was Ilhan’s brother and he had been living in London but he was mixing with what were seen as bad influences that the family did not like,” Osman said. “So they sent him to Minneapolis as ‘rehab.’ ”
Osman noted that Omar had “said she needed to get papers for her brother to go to school. We all thought she was just getting papers together to allow him to stay in this country. Once she had the papers they could apply for student loans. They both moved to North Dakota to go to school but she was still married to [Hirsi]. In the Somali way, the only marriage that mattered was the one in the mosque.”
Multiple reports have surfaced indicating that the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Department of Education are reviewing the allegations made against Omar, Minnesota Democrat.
The Daily Mail noted that Omar refused to answer questions about the newest round of allegations made against her and that her spokesperson said that she does not answer questions about her personal life.
Immigration attorney Matthew Kolken responded to The Daily Mail’s report by tweeting: “Marriage fraud may be prosecuted under 8 U.S.C. § 1325 and 18 U.S.C. § 1546(a), which provide a penalty of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for any ‘individual who knowingly enters into a marriage for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws.’ ”
The Minnesota Star Tribune has reported the following timeline of Omar’s marital history:
• 2002: Omar, 19, marries Ahmed Hirsi, 22, in their “faith tradition” in Minnesota, but they don’t legally marry.
• 2008: Omar and Hirsi, now the parents of two children, reach an “impasse in our life together” and divorce in their faith tradition.
• 2009: Omar, at 26, marries Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, 23, whom she identifies only as a “British citizen.” School records show he attended high school in St. Paul and studied art at North Dakota State University.
• 2011: Omar and Elmi end their relationship and divorce in their faith tradition, but do not legally divorce until 2017.
• 2012: Omar and Hirsi reconcile and have a third child together.
• 2014–15: Omar files joint tax returns with Hirsi, though they are not yet legally married; she remains legally married to Elmi.
• 2016: Omar, endorsed by the DFL over longtime incumbent Phyllis Kahn, is elected to the Minnesota House, becoming the first Somali-American, Muslim legislator in the United States. But her campaign is rocked by allegations in a Somali news forum and the conservative Power Line blog suggesting that Elmi is her brother and they married for unspecified immigration benefits.
• 2017: Omar is granted a legal divorce from Elmi.
• 2018: Omar legally marries Hirsi and is elected to Congress.