The Life of Ilhan Omar

She fled her country and spent four years in a refugee camp. Now, she’s the first Somali-American in Congress. This is Ilhan Omar's story.

She fled a civil war and became the first Somali-American in Congress

Earlier years

Ilhan Omar was born the youngest of seven siblings in Mogadishu in 1982. At age 8, she fled the country with her family to escape its civil war — then spent four years in a Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya before immigrating to the U.S. in 1995. In 1997, the family settled in Minneapolis’s Cedar-Riverside neighborhood — the heart of the Somali diaspora in the U.S. Omar’s interest in politics began at 14, while acting as an interpreter for her grandfather at local DFL caucuses. In 2000, Omar became a U.S. citizen — she was 17.

Speaking out about an American promise not kept

After graduating from North Dakota State University, she started working as an educator in 2006. At 34, she launched her campaign for the Minnesota State House. She won House District 60B in southeast Minneapolis with 78.2% of the vote on November 8, 2016. 2 years later, she ran for Congress and became the first Somali-American lawmaker and one of the first of 2 Muslim women to be elected to Congress, along with Michigan's Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

From refugee to Congresswoman

A member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, she has advocated for a living wage, Medicare for all, cancellation of student debt, abolishing ICE. On February 2019, she grabbed headlines over her tough questioning of Trump’s special envoy to Venezuela. Omar faced accusations of anti-Semitism for criticizing the power of the Israeli lobby in Washington and questioning U.S.-Israeli relations. She also became a major target of Donald Trump — who accused her of praising al-Qaeda and downplaying the 9/11 terror attacks. On July 2019, Omar was once again at the center of Trump’s attacks, along with 3 other congresswomen. A mother of 3, Omar has been seen alongside her daughter and climate activist Isra Hirsi. From refugee to Congresswoman, Omar will publish her memoir titled “This is What America Looks Like” in 2020.


01/07/2020 10:57 AM
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  • Ismail I.
    a day

    She will be president of USA.

  • Cabdalhi I.
    2 days

    Somali viv⚘

  • Axmadeey T.
    2 days


  • John C.
    3 days

    Makes me Ill to my stomach to listen to this skank talk

  • Ahmed C.
    3 days

    Empty lady

  • Ubah A.
    3 days

    Yes she is wonderful

  • Sadia S.
    3 days

    She is amazing Masha Allah

  • Bara A.
    5 days

    Our ilhan our choice

  • Wiilka H.
    5 days

    Woooow somali grlis 💔💔💔❣️❣️❣️

  • Emily A.
    6 days

    She is a smart woman and I love her courage. We are certain of a great future because of leaders who stand for the right things today. So stop telling her to leave. If you don't like her you can also move to another country. She is an American and she has every right to express herself

  • Moo Q.
    03/25/2020 19:10

    i am from somali i don't think to see women generally high level position is good idea women job is to support family raising child be responsible home issues and other things that related like teaching child how to be good influence to society

  • Oti B.
    03/25/2020 17:36

    Trust in God

  • Maria I.
    03/25/2020 14:48

    strong women good bless ilhan Omar 🥰🥰🥰

  • Asli A.
    03/25/2020 11:11

    masha allaaha walashey ilhan cumar

  • Sal L.
    03/25/2020 02:46

    She is a pig wearing lipstick. Be gone with her!

  • Hawa H.
    03/24/2020 16:33

    Waa hooyo swden ku nool oo jecel guushaada lanbarkaguna waa kaa 0764124408

  • Hawa H.
    03/24/2020 16:32

    Alla hakaa qabto cadowga noocyada badan geesiyad baad tahay cidna wax kuma yeelikarto fiicnaan lahaydaa inaan kula kulmo oo kugacan qoodo kuuna mashxarado waxaan rajaynayaa fariintaydaasi inay kugaadho

  • Ahmed J.
    03/24/2020 01:17

    gabadha tageraa somalay wayo wa gabadha kaliyeh xijaban oo congress ka kujirta gurkaga ayan kugu hambalyay naya wll

  • Kyaw K.
    03/23/2020 14:47

    must power full lady great jub Omar

  • Rêäł M.
    03/23/2020 10:10

    walashin history 😅😅😅