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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 10: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on stage during a campaign rally at the Target Center on October 10, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images).

Trump Attacks Ilhan Omar & Minnesota's Somali Community In Disparaging Anti-Immigrant Campaign Speech

Trump stepped up his demonization of Minnesota's Somali community in front of a braying crowd of MAGA-hat wearing supporters.

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump held a campaign rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota and—in typical white-nationalist fashion—used a significant portion of his speech to disparage the local Somali community, and once again take shots at the state's Somali-born Representative Ilhan Omar.

"As you know for many years leaders in Washington brought large numbers of refugees to your state from Somalia without considering the impact on schools and communities and taxpayers," said Trump, echoing the countless anti-immigrant statements he's made in the past. "You should be able to decide what is best for your own cities and for your own neighborhoods and that's what you have the right to do right now, and believe me, no other president would be doing that," he added as his supporters cheered him on.


READ: Op-Ed: In Defense of the Black Boogeyman

He took direct cracks at Omar—going as far as to display images of the Democratic congresswoman on the venue's jumbo screens, while he referred to her as an "America-hating socialist" and "disgrace." Going further to add: "How do you have such a person representing you in Minnesota. I am very angry at you people right now. She is a disgrace to our country. She is one of the big reasons that I am going to win and the Republican party is going to win Minnesota in 13 months."

He assured attendees that he would further tighten immigration policies and "give local communities a greater say in refugee policy and put in place enhanced vetting and responsible immigration controls."

Omar—who has been subject to verbal abuse from the president both in speeches and on Twitter on several occasions since assuming her post—responded to Trump's remarks last night writing, "Minnesota stands for peace, equity and justice—everything you're against. While you spew hate, we will keep fighting for the America we deserve."

Several commentators have blasted Trump for his hate-fueled remarks and have spoken out in defense of Omar and Minnesota's Somali community, which is the largest in the country.

This type of rhetoric has harmful, real-life implications for the Somali community. As Huffington Post reporter, Ryan J. Reilly pointed out, three Trump supporters were convicted last year for planning a terrorist attack against Somali refugees in Kansas.

Mukhtar M. Ibrahim, editor of Sahan Journal which covers immigrant and refugee issues in Minnesota, shared a passage from the book Border Wars: Inside Trump's assault on Immigration, which reveals what appears to be a longstanding hate from Trump towards Somali refugees in particular.

Earlier this year, several right-wing officials, including Trump, accused Omar of anti-semitism for tweeting criticism of pro-Israel lobbyists and saying that American support for Israel was primarily about economic gain. This fueled, what amounted to, a right-wing led smear campaign against her, with several members of the Republican party calling on the congresswoman to resign from her post.

"American public politics revolves heavily (but not exclusively) around an idea of citizenship that excludes and criminalizes Black people," wrote OkayAfrica Contributor Zoe Samudzi in an op-ed following the incident. "It invites people to participate in our public disciplining and Omar's Somali, Black Muslim, and refugee identities make her a beautiful target for bipartisan political point-scoring."

Interview

Kofi Jamar Switches Lanes In 'Appetite for Destruction'

The Ghanaian rapper and "Ekorso" hitmaker presents a different sound in his latest EP.

The drill scene in Ghana has been making waves across the continent for some time now. If you're hip to what a crop of young and hungry artists from the city of Kumasi in Ghana and beyond have been doing over the past year, then you already know about rapper Kofi Jamar.

Towards the end of November last year he dropped one of the biggest drill songs to emerge from Ghana's buzzing drill scene, the popular street anthem "Ekorso." In the December and January that followed, "Ekorso" was the song on everyone's lips, the hip-hop song that took over the season, with even the likes of Wizkid spotted vibing to the tune.

Currently sitting at over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms, the song topped charts, even breaking records in the process. "Ekorso" maintained the number one spot on Apple Music's Hip-Hop/Rap: Ghana chart for two months uninterrupted, a first in the history of the chart. It also had a good stint at number one of the Ghana Top 100 chart as well, among several other accolades.

Even though he's the creator of what could be the biggest song of Ghana's drill movement till date, Kofi Jamar doesn't plan on replicating his past music or his past moves. He has just issued his second EP, a 6-track project titled Appetite for Destruction, and it would surprise you to know that there isn't a single drill song on it. Although drill played a huge role in his meteoric rise, he wants to be known as way more than just a drill rapper. He wants to be known as a complete and versatile artist, unafraid to engage in any genre — and he even looks forward to creating his own genre of music during the course of his career.

We spoke to Kofi Jamar about his latest EP, and he tells us about working with Teni, why he's gravitating away from drill to a new sound, and more. Check out our conversation below.

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