Questions dog Omar on her immigration process, marriage history

by WorldTribune Staff, June 23, 2019

Questions about whether Rep. Ilhan Omar married a man who may have been her brother to circumvent U.S. immigration laws were revived in a June 22 report by the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune.

Documents from a state investigation of campaign finance violations showed that the Minnesota Democrat filed federal taxes in 2014 and 2015 with her current husband, Ahmed Hirsi, while legally married to but separated from Ahmed Nur Said Elmi.

Rep. Ilhan Omar

The Star Tribune reported that it found little information about Elmi in public records and could neither confirm nor rebut the claim that he is Omar’s brother.

The documents also reveal the effort of Omar’s campaign to keep the story of her marriage to Elmi out of the press.

The Star Tribune recounted what is known about Omar’s marriage history:

“What is known is that Omar, at the age of 19, sought a legal marriage license with [Ahmed] Hirsi in Minnesota. Though they had three children together, they would not legally marry until January, 2018, after she had been in the Minnesota Legislature for a year and had dissolved the marriage in 2017 with Elmi.

After reaching what Omar called ‘an impasse in our life together,’ she and Hirsi split for a period in 2008. They had two children at the time.

In February 2009, public records show that Omar legally married Elmi, who she has identified as a ‘British citizen.’

The relationship was brief. Omar said it ended in 2011, when she reconciled with Hirsi.

She gave birth to their third child the following June. She identified Hirsi as the father.

While Omar said she and Elmi had divorced in 2011 ‘in our faith tradition,’ they would not legally divorce until December, 2017 — a month before she got legally married to Hirsi.”

The Star Tribune noted that Omar’s relatives could “clear the air, but they have remained silent about her marriage to Elmi.” She declined to make her family available for the report. Omar also declined to make her tax and immigration records available for the report.

In February of this year, the fact checking site Snopes said that the claim that Omar had married her brother is “unproven.”

“The evidence uncovered thus far isn’t definitive enough to come down on one side or the other,” the Snopes report said.

Campaign e-mails disclosed by the state campaign finance board also show “a concerted effort to quash the Elmi story,” the Star Tribune report said. “An August 2016 internal e-mail written by campaign spokesman Ben Goldfarb, a veteran DFL operative, suggested reaching out to political newsletter writer Blois Olson ‘and shut it down with him as we do with the Strib (Star Tribune).’ ”

A spokesman for Omar issued a statement calling probes into her personal life illegitimate.

“Since before she was elected to office, Ilhan has been the subject of conspiracy theories and false accusations about her personal life. Emboldened by a president who openly treats immigrants, refugees and Muslims as invaders, these attacks often stem from the presumption that Ilhan — like others who share those identities — is somehow illegitimate or not fully American,” Jeremy Slevin said.

Investigative reporter David Steinberg, who has written extensively on Omar, tweeted of the Star Tribune’s report that “For 3 years, the paper ignored the work of reporters Preya Samsundar, Scott Johnson, and myself on @ilhanMN’s disturbing past. Ignored our emails offering new evidence.”

Steinberg added that the Star Tribune duplicated the work he, Samsundar and Johnson had already done. “Our leads, our research. Did they credit us? No. We are just unnamed ‘conservative activists.’ We are not activists. We are reporters; they are frauds. They owe us, MN voters, and the global Jewish community an apology.”

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