No one in the mainstream media seems to be able to determine if Rep. Ilhan Abdullahi Omar, 37, a Democrat from Minnesota, married her biological brother – quite possibly to permit him to come to the US and enjoy certain benefits at taxpayer expense.
This is interesting for the mainstream media would, in general, be highly interested in discrediting this lingering story that a liberal Congresswoman from Minnesota might have done something unethical and illegal.
The allegation has dogged Omar since before she was elected to Congress.
Why she would be the first to be defended by the mainstream media is for her gender, her race and her liberal outlook.
She was elected in 2019, as the historic first Somali-American and the first naturalized citizen to serve in Congress, and one of the first two Muslim women to serve in the House. She is also the first member of Congress to wear a hijab.
She might also be the first member of Congress to marry her own sibling.
Omar has been the subject of a three-year investigation by investigative reporter David Steinberg and his colleagues, Preya Samsundar and Scott Johnson.
Steinberg, relying mainly on now-deleted social media posts, believes Omar married her biological brother, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, a citizen of the United Kingdom, in 2009, for purposes of immigration fraud.
Omar has called these rumors, ‘disgusting lies.’
Last October [before she was elected to Congress], Omar explained her curious marital history in context with her Muslin faith.
She had, for a time, two husbands simultaneously.
Omar makes a distinction between “legal” and “religious” marriages in her Muslim faith, explaining that, at one time, she had not legally divorced her first husband [her alleged brother, Ahmed Elmi] but had religiously married another man, Ahmed Hirsi.
Elmi [the legal husband and alleged brother] and Hirsi [the father of her children]
Prior to 2017, when she actually divorced her alleged brother, Omar explained, “In 2002, when I was 19 years old, Ahmed Hirsi… the father of my children and love of my life, and I applied for a marriage license, but we never finalized the application and thus were never legally married [They were religiously married].
“In 2008, we decided to end our relationship in our faith tradition after reaching an impasse in our life together. I entered into a relationship with a British citizen Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, [her alleged brother], and married him legally in 2009. Our relationship ended in 2011 and we divorced in our faith tradition. [She did not divorce him legally]. After that, he moved home to England. I have yet to legally divorce Ahmed Nur Said Elmi but am in the process of doing so. Insinuations that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi is my brother are absurd and offensive. Since 2011, I am happy to say that I have reconciled with Ahmed Hirsi, we have married in our faith tradition [religious, not legal marriage] and are raising our family together.
The alleged brother Elmi, and Omar legally divorced in 2017. She legally married Hirsi in 2018.
In the course of the divorce from Elmi, Omar submitted an “Application for an Order for Service by Alternate Means” to the State of Minnesota on August 2, 2017 and claimed that she had had no contact with her husband [and alleged brother] Elmi after June 2011.
She also claimed she did not know where to find him. Omar signed the “Application for an Order for Service by Alternate Means” under penalty of perjury.
Steinberg and his colleagues reported that Omar did have contact with Elmi and they met in London in 2015, which is supported by screenshots of now-deleted social media pictures.
Photographs taken during a trip by Omar to London in 2015 and posted to her Instagram account [under her nickname “hameey”] showed her posing with her husband/presumed brother, Elmi, Steinberg reports.
These photographs from 2015 suggest she met up with Elmi after June 2011 and before the date she signed the divorce document in 2017, calling into question her claim that she had not seen Elmi since June 2011.
In 2016, the conservative [and anti-Omar] website AlphaNewsMN posted a screenshot of an Instagram post — since deleted — that was allegedly uploaded by Elmi on June 12, 2012, shortly after Omar gave birth to her third child.
The caption of the photograph identified Elmi, holding the baby girl, calling her “nieces.”
This was an odd way of describing your wife’s child. It also suggests that while Omar claims she had no way to find him since 2011, in 2012 he was holding her baby.
To her critics, it appears that Rep. Omar may have married Elmi [her alleged brother] to assist his emigration to the United States from the United Kingdom. He came to the US and attended high school and through federally-backed student loans, North Dakota State University. He is two years younger than Omar. Elmi and Omar simultaneously attended North Dakota State University.
For simplicity sake, here is a timeline on the marital history – both legal and religious of Omar.
2002: Omar, then 19, “religiously” married Ahmed Hirsi, but not legally. Omar and Hirsi had two children.
2008: Omar and Hirsi obtained an Islamic religious divorce.
2009: Omar married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi [her alleged brother] religiously and legally. This is her first known legal marriage.
2011: Omar and Elmi divorced religiously, but remained legally married.
2012: Omar and Hirsi have a third child.
2017: Omar legally divorced [her alleged brother] Elmi.
2018 Omar legally married Hirsi.
One Investigation Leads to Another
The State of Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board began an investigation [most likely initiated by her political enemies] and found that Rep. Omar violated state campaign finance laws for improper use of campaign funds.
In July 2018, when she was still a Minnesota state representative, Omar was almost six months late in filing her state-mandated economic-interest disclosure.
Then, in November 2018, the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board found probable cause regarding possible misuse of campaign funds by Omar and the board launched another investigation.
State Representative Steve Drazkowski contended that Omar used campaign funds to pay for a trip to Massachusetts and a trip to Estonia, as well as paying legal fees to her divorce attorney.
She was also accused of accepting appearance payments from three Minnesota colleges which was in violation of Minnesota House rules.
Omar reportedly repaid $2,500 of the $2,750 she should not have accepted.
In June 2019, the Board, during their investigation into misuse of campaign funds, discovered that federal tax returns submitted by Rep. Omar for 2014 and 2015 were filed as “joint” tax returns with Hirsi [the man she was then only religiously married to] who was not her legal husband [until 2018].
When she filed the joint tax returns with her religious husband, she was still legally married to [her alleged brother] Elmi.
The Minnesota campaign finance board determined that Omar had illegally filed joint tax returns.
Omar said she corrected the 2014 and 2015 tax filings and declined to comment on why she filed taxes with a man she was not married to, when she was legally married to someone else [her alleged brother].
Is Elmi Really Omar’s Brother?
No one seems to be able to find out if Elmi is Omar’s brother.
In a June 23 article, the hometown newspaper for Omar, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote that it “could neither conclusively confirm nor rebut the allegation that [Elmi] is Omar’s sibling.”
Snopes.com in February 2019 wrote, “the evidence uncovered thus far isn’t definitive enough to come down on one side or the other.”
PolitiFact was unable to reach a conclusion.
Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, has asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate Rep. Omar’s conduct suggesting that her federal tax returns be examined to determine whether additional falsifications were made.
Omar Says You Can’t Prove a Negative
Omar told the Star-Tribune in October 2018, [before she was elected to Congress] that “it’s really strange, right, to prove a negative. … If someone was asking me, do I have a brother by that name, I don’t.”
That is not quite the same as saying Elmi is not her brother.
Most of the evidence behind the allegation that she married her brother seems to be in now-deleted social media posts.
The Star Tribune looked into the social media trail and found that It had been wiped clean. Because the posts had been wiped, the Star Tribune had to rely on screenshots that had been posted by people who were opposed to Omar. They looked authentic. But they had to be careful since the screenshots were provided to them by enemies of Omar. They might have been altered.
The Star Tribune did find that all three – Omar, and her two husbands had “overlapping addresses.”
Public records searches by the Star Tribune determined that, after she married Elmi, all three, Omar, [alleged brother] Elmi, and [religious husband] Hirsi, used the same address in Minnesota.
Why was Omar living with the person she’s married to and the man who would be her eventual husband?
Omar was unwilling to answer the Star Tribune when they asked this and other similar questions.
She deflected, saying these were mere accusations, that they were unfair, and she shouldn’t have to address them.
The Star Tribune concluded that, as the US representative of many of their readers, she might have been more forthcoming, especially in light of the undisputed instance of her filing her taxes improperly with a man who was not legally her husband.
Omar declined to show the Star Tribune immigration records they requested. She showed them a photo of them on a cellphone instead.
What might settle the matter quickly and decisively would be an interview of her father, her sisters, and Elmi, himself – her husband and alleged brother.
All of them have been unavailable for comment.
The real question is can we ever find out?
Is it important?
Should Omar even be required to defend this allegation?
Is the burden of proof on the accusers or her?