For several years now, there have been unanswered questions circulating about the marital history of Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, including whether she was married to two men at the same time, whether one of those two men was actually her brother, and whether the purpose of the marriage to her alleged brother was to defraud U.S. immigration laws.
Omar has steadfastly refused to answer to these allegations, but now, newly released documents from Omar’s 2016 campaign team are providing some clues — and raising more questions.
Adding to the confusion
Spectator USA obtained a copy of an internal email written by Omar’s campaign spokesman, Ben Goldfarb, in 2016. That document was turned over to the Minnesota Campaign and Public Disclosure Board during its investigation this year into the congresswoman’s alleged campaign finance violations.
That investigation found that Omar had misspent campaign funds, and also seemed to reveal that Omar had committed marriage and/or tax fraud by filing joint tax returns with one man while legally wed to another in 2014 and 2015.
In the internal campaign email, Goldfarb wrote: “We are probably in a position where giving real background information is helpful in tying this up. That said, having now tried to write a statement multiple times that says, ‘I’m not legally married to two people but I am legally married to one and culturally married to another,’ I think it’s impossible without making it even more confusing.”
Rumors? Or reality?
Questions about Omar’s marital status were first raised in 2016 when Omar was running for state office in Minnesota, and since then, she has dismissed any and all allegations of wrongdoing as “baseless, absurd rumors” and gone on to smear anyone who thinks otherwise.
But that 2016 email suggests the allegations aren’t just “rumors,” nor are questions about them “baseless” and “absurd.” In fact, the email looks like an admission that Omar knew she was “legally married to one [man] and culturally married to another” at the same time.
According to the best-known timeline of Omar’s marital history — based on her own words and publicly obtained documents like marriage certificates — Omar married her first husband, Ahmed Hirsi, in 2002 in their Muslim “faith tradition.” She says they were divorced in the “faith tradition” in 2008 after having two children together; however, there is no official marriage certificate or record of divorce proceedings for either of those events.
Then, in 2009, Omar married a second man named Ahmed Elmi — who some have alleged to be the congresswoman’s brother — in a civil ceremony overseen by a Christian minister. Omar and Elmi reportedly obtained a “faith tradition” divorce in 2011 — though there is no record of it — and Omar appears to have remarried the first husband, Hirsi, shortly thereafter.
Interestingly, public records from that time indicated that Omar and both men claimed the same home address in Minneapolis as well as at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota. Further, social media evidence suggests that Elmi referred to the three children between Omar and Hirsi as his “nieces and nephews,” Spectator reports.
Omar didn’t officially get divorced from Elmi until 2017, and despite her assertion to the court that she had been unable to locate Elmi in the years since their split in 2011, evidence suggests that Elmi was in contact with Omar’s sister in Nairobi, Kenya. Other tidbits of information also seem to lead to the same conclusion, according to Spectator:
It’s impossible to read this mounting pile of credible evidence without wondering if Ilhan Omar was, perhaps unknowingly, implicated in education and immigration fraud, and whether, perhaps unknowingly, she was married to two men at the same time.
And Omar’s refusal to answer questions about all of this only makes the situation more suspicious.