During Wednesday’s 9/11 Memorial and Museum ceremony in New York to honor the lives lost 18 years ago, one victim’s family member had a message for freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
Nicholas Haros Jr., whose mother Frances Haros was killed in the World Trade Center at age 76, wore a black T-shirt with the words “Some people did something” as he read a list of victims’ names, including his mother’s.
“Today I am here to respond to you exactly who did what to whom. Madam, objectively speaking, we know who and what was done,” Haros Jr. said on Wednesday. “There is no uncertainty about that. Why your confusion?”
Haros Jr.’s comments are a reference to a controversial statement made by the Minnesota representative, who said while speaking about the Muslim community’s resilience in the face of discrimination that “[Council of American-Islamic Relations] was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
Omar’s comments sparked instant outrage by conservatives who accused her of belittling the historic tragedy. Others argued her comments were being taken out of context to unfairly attack her.
In response to Haros Jr.’s comments, Omar’s office sent USA TODAY comments the congresswoman has previously made clarifying her statement:
“In my speech, I was talking about how our civil liberties as Muslims were being eroded after the horrific attacks of 9/11. … I think there is a particular bias and a certain lens that people critique the words I use. And that is not a bias or a lens that I can get rid of with one answer, with one conversation.”
“To some people, it’s easy for them to not think of me as an American, as someone who would not have the same feelings as they did as we were being attacked on American soil,” Omar continued. “And that is really the essence of the conversation I was having. We felt the attack—we were attacked.”
President Donald Trump came after Omar hard for her comments, posting a video on Twitter of 9/11 footage juxtaposed with Omar’s comments.
Omar also said she received an increased number of death threats following the president’s tweet.
“On that day, 19 Islamic terrorist members of al Qaeda killed over 3,000 people and caused billions of dollars in economic damage. Is that clear?” Haros Jr. said.
He continued, “But as to whom, I was attacked. Your relatives and friends were attacked. Our constitutional freedoms were attacked. And our nation’s founding on Judeo-Christian principles were attacked. That’s what some people did. Got that now?”
“We are here today, congresswoman, to tell you and the squad just who did what to whom. Show respect in honoring them, please. American patriotism and your position demand it. For God and country, amen,” Haros Jr. said.
Last year while reading names at the Sept. 11 commemoration, Haros Jr. asked politicians to “stop using the bones and ashes of our loved ones as props in your political theater.”
“The events of 9/11 were life-changing, life-altering for all of us. I mean, this was I think one of the most horrific terrorist attacks that we have lived through,” Omar said in a video she tweeted on Wednesday. “My feeling around it is one of complete horror.”
*story by USA Today