Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar may have married her own brother in an effort to skirt immigration laws, claim some of her opponents, and The Minneapolis Star Tribune wasn’t able to conclusively prove that allegation false after a review of her financial and marriage records.
Allegations about Omar’s purported paperwork improprieties were first raised in 2016, when Omar was running for a seat in Minnesota’s House of Representatives. Largely promulgated by conservative bloggers, the allegations weren’t generally taken seriously by the more mainstream media.
Now, however, those allegations are getting a more serious look. A state investigative agency, tasked with policing campaign violations, took a look through publicly available documents, such as her tax returns and marriage and immigration paperwork, and found that there may be something to those allegations.
Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1982, and then arrived in the U.S. with her family in 1992, when she was 10-years-old. In 2002, at the age of 20, she ceremonially married Ahmed Hirsi, 22, in a religious ceremony, but did not obtain a marriage license or marry legally in the eyes of the state. Omar and Hirsi split up six years later, by this time the parents of two children. Their “divorce” was ceremonial and carried out in their “faith tradition,” but like their “marriage,” their divorce was not carried out in the legal sense.
In 2009, Omar married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, whom she identified as a “British citizen,” this time legally. However, they “divorced” ceremonially a while later. Then, she reconciled with Hirsi, and in 2014-2015, she filed joint taxes with Hirsi, while still legally married to Elmi.
Omar hired an attorney to sort out her tax issues, allegedly paying the attorney from monies raised via her campaign contributions, which is illegal.
However, even more damning than the alleged campaign finance and tax improprieties is the fact that Omar’s second ceremonial husband, and first legal husband, may have been her brother.
At this point, it bears noting that the allegation that Elmi is Omar’s brother is not based on any actual point of fact. Records from war-torn Somalia are all but nonexistent. Similarly, information about Elmi is all but nonexistent as well. A review of marriage and divorce filings, business licenses, university records, and other documents all failed to turn up anything substantive. Similarly, social media accounts of anyone connected to Omar’s family reveal little.
Omar’s detractors point to her near total silence about the issue as evidence that she’s hiding something. Omar, for her part, refuses to discuss it, saying that it’s not relevant and that discussing her marriage and family issues is an invasion of her privacy.