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PJ Media
PJ Media
22 Apr 2023
Robert Spencer


NextImg:Biden Regime Taps Ilhan Omar to Speak at Religious Freedom Event, Then Hides Invitation   

The only certainty in this murky incident is that the Biden regime is not exactly honest and above-board in its dealings, but of course, we knew that already. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a government agency that states its mission as advancing “international freedom of religion or belief, by independently assessing and unflinchingly confronting threats to this fundamental right,” invited the notoriously antisemitic Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Mogadishu), of all people, to speak at an event on violations of religious freedom. When officials were questioned about this tone-deaf and offensive invitation, however, it quickly became unclear whether or not Omar was invited at all. For her part, her office says she was.

It all started on April 13, when USCIRF announced that it was planning to hold an event on April 25 to release its 2023 Annual Report, which “documents systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom that have occurred in the last year, and provides recommendations to the U.S. government intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief abroad.” Accompanying the release of this report, there was to be a discussion of the report’s “Key Findings and Recommendations,” featuring opening remarks by two USCIRF officials and three elected representatives: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida); Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts); and none other than Ilhan Omar.

Whose bright idea was that? This is the individual who tweeted back in 2012: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” The one who claimed that support for Israel in the United States was “all about the Benjamins baby,” and charged that the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee paid American politicians to support Israel. Is anyone going to ask her at the USCIRF event if Jews deserve religious freedom, or if they have forfeited that right by their alleged acts of oppression? Of course, no one would dare, but the question remains.

Omar is hardly a stellar choice to speak at a religious freedom event. And maybe she isn’t speaking, or at least the Biden regime wants to give that impression. Contrary to its earlier announcement, the USCIRF website now lists the event as taking place on May 1, and doesn’t mention Omar. A reporter from the Jewish News Syndicate contacted USCIRF to ask what was going on, and was referred to that same webpage, “including a list of speakers on our website,” which omits Omar.

Omar advisor Jeremy Slevin, however, insisted that Omar was indeed speaking as had been originally announced: “Sorry to burst your bubble, but this story is completely false. Rep. Omar will be delivering virtual remarks at the event, just like Sen. Rubio.” When asked about this apparent discrepancy, a USCIRF spokesperson offered a bland non-explanation: “We had a change in date to May 1, 2023. This event is being held virtually, and we invite all members of Congress to provide remarks, as they wish, for USCIRF’s annual report rollout.”

What’s going on here? Most likely Ilhan Omar is going to speak at the USCIRF event, but Biden regime officials hope that as few people notice that as possible, and that it doesn’t become another controversy for an administration that has already faced stinging criticism for abandoning Israel and resuming the financing of Palestinian jihad terror that had stopped during the Trump administration.

Related: Anti-Semitic Rep. Ilhan Omar Kicked Off House Foreign Relations Committee

There is still time for Biden’s handlers formally to rescind the invitation to Ilhan Omar, but that would only enrage the regime’s Leftist base, and so there is no chance that such a thing will happen. Joel Griffith of the Heritage Foundation, meanwhile, declared: “There is no excuse for any organization that claims to respect religious freedom to invite Ilhan Omar to speak. This unjustly allows her to rehabilitate her image.” Indeed. He added: “I think that the commission owes an apology, both to our ally Israel and to those of us who care so deeply about this.… To invite her is a slap in the face of people who put their lives on the line.”

That’s certainly true. But when has the Biden regime hesitated to slap Americans and allies of America in the face? This is the face-slapping administration. If Old Joe Biden and his henchmen were dedicated to humiliating and enraging patriotic Americans and our reliable allies, what would he be doing differently from what he is doing now?