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    Ilhan Omar Biography: From Somali Refugee to Congressional Trailblazer


    By Max - Jul 13, 2023 | Updated On: 14 July, 2023 | 3 min read

    By Max , 3 min read - Jul 13, 2023

    Updated On: 14 July, 2023

    Ilhan Omar Biography. Image Source: Instagram.

  • Step into the world of politics, where ideas clash, alliances form, and the fate of nations hangs on the cliff. American congresswoman Ilhan Omar is one of the most visible faces of Muslim political activism in the U.S. who frequently sparks strong reactions and passionate arguments, challenging cultural conventions.

    Since 2019, Ilhan Omar has been serving as the representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district. A member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, Omar served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2017-2019 before her election to Congress.

    Join us as we uncover the remarkable Ilhan Omar biography and the contributions she made on the world stage.

  • Ilhan Omar Early Life, Refugee Background

    Born on October 4, 1982, Ilhan Abdullahi Omar’s age is 40 years as of July 13, 2023. She was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, to an ethnic Northeastern Somalian father, Nur Omar Mohamed. Her mom, Fadhuma Abukar Haji Hussein, a Benadiri Somalian, died when Ilhan was two.

    Ilhan’s paternal family were moderate ‘Sunni Muslims.’ Her father, Nur, was a colonel in the Somali army under ‘Siad Barre.’ Her family escaped Somalia to escape the Somali Civil War and sought refuge in Kenya, spending four years in a refugee camp.


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  • A post shared by Ilhan Omar (@ilhanmn)

    In 1995, Omar’s family secured asylum in the U.S. and arrived in New York. They eventually settled in Minneapolis before living for a long time in Arlington, Virginia. Omar had a great influence from her father and grandfather, who emphasized the importance of democracy during her upbringing.

    Ilhan Omar Education

    During her time in Virginia, Omar went through school bullying, which occurred due to her Somali appearance and wearing of hijab. Later, she completed her schooling at Thomas Edison High School in 2001 and volunteered as a student organizer.

  • Afterward, she graduated in 2011 from North Dakota State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies. Meanwhile, the politician was a Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

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    No Way in Hell: Provoking Strong Reactions and Sparkling Impassioned Debate

    On July 13, 2023, representative Ilhan Omar said that she would be boycotting Israeli President’s Isaac Herzog upcoming joint address to Congress. She cited the ongoing tensions between the Israeli government and Palestine as a reason for not attending the event.

    Ilhan Omar Biography

    Ilhan Omar Biography. Image Source: Social Media.

    Omar further said that the country that banned the first Muslim US congresswomen lawmakers shouldn’t have been invited to address a joint session. In 2019 Ilhan and her fellow colleague Rashida Tlaib were banned from entering Israel, but the latter was later allowed to enter the country.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Ilhan and Rashida were planning to promote boycott legislation against Israel in the US Congress. In August 2019, he wrote a tweet saying that the two women were planning a campaign whose only purpose was to strengthen the boycott and negate Israel’s legitimacy.

    While Ilhan was in the Minnesota legislature, she was critical of the Israeli government. Further, she strongly opposed a law purposed to restrict the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. Additionally, Omar has voiced support for a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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    Political Rise and Congressional Breakthrough

    Ilhan Omar began her political career as a community organizer and advocate in Minneapolis. In 2016, she became the first Somali-American Muslim woman elected to a state legislature, winning a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Her victory showcased her ability to connect with a diverse constituency and address their concerns effectively.

  • In 2018, Ilhan Omar made history by winning the Democratic primary for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district. She went on to win the general election, becoming just one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress and the first Somali-American member of Congress. Her election symbolized a significant shift towards inclusivity and representation within the political landscape.

    During her professional political career, Omar has been a critic of U.S. foreign policy, particularly concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She is a frequent advocate for marginalized communities and has been at the forefront of efforts to combat systemic racism, police brutality, and the mistreatment of minority communities.

    Ilhan Omar Married Life

    Omar had an unofficial faith-based Islamic marriage with a fellow Somali immigrant Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi in 2002. The couple had two children together, including Isra Hirsi. Omar said that she and Hirsi divorced within their faith-based tradition in 2008.

    In 2009, Omar married a British Somali named Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, but they divorced in 2011. Later, she reconciled with Hirsi. In 2012, she had a third child.

  • Elmi and Omar legally divorced in 2017, and Omar legally married her first husband, Hirsi, in 2018. On October 7, 2019, Ilhan filed for divorce from Hirsi, citing a misunderstanding of the marriage. The separation was finalized on November 5, 2019. In March 2020, Omar married Tim Mynett, a political consultant.

    As an experienced Twin Cities policy analyst, organizer, public speaker, and advocate, Ilhan Omar has left a monumental impact on U.S. politics’ dominion.

    We hope to continue to add to Ilhan Omar biography with all she managed to achieve and wish her the best in her fight for a better tomorrow.


    Oshin, O. (2023, July 13). The Hill. The Hill.

    Magid, J. (2023, July 13). ‘No way in hell’: Likely starting trend, Ilhan Omar to skip Herzog speech to Congress. Times of Israel.

    Ilhan Omar -. (n.d.). Archives of Women’s Political Communication.

    About | Representative Ilhan Omar. (2023, June 16). Representative Ilhan Omar.

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