Facebook hate post is ‘pure propaganda’

Rep. Ilhan Omar

The Associated Press

Rep. Ilhan Omar condemns GOP state lawmaker's Facebook post

Steve Karnowski and James MacPhearson

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Rep. Ilhan Omar has condemned a Republican state senator from North Dakota who posted a long-debunked photo on his Facebook page that purports to show the Minnesota Democrat holding a weapon at an al-Qaida training camp.

Omar, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Somalia and is one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, blasted state Sen. Oley Larsen's post, which also led to calls Tuesday from the Senate's top Republican and GOP Gov. Doug Burgum to apologize and relinquish a state Senate leadership position.

"This is pure propaganda designed to stir up hate and violence," Omar tweeted Monday night. "... Facebook's unwillingness to crack down on hate speech and misinformation is not just threatening my life, but our democracy."

The image Larsen posted has been debunked by several sources since it appeared on social media this summer. It's an Associated Press photo taken of a female Somali army recruit at a Mogadishu military training campus in 1978, four years before Omar was born in 1982.

In the comments accompanying his post, Larsen also called Omar an "elected terrorist" and asked his followers to "share it everywhere."

Facing mounting criticism, though, Larsen removed the photo Monday. And by Tuesday morning, his Facebook feed — minus the image — was full of attacks on him for posting it and accusing him of bigotry.

On Tuesday, the North Dakota Senate's majority leader, Republican Rich Wardner, called on Larsen to apologize and give up his position as the state Senate's president pro tempore, a post in which he presides over sessions when the lieutenant governor is absent.

"At this point, I'm not calling for his resignation from the Senate, but if he continues with this, I will have to rethink that," Wardner said.

The governor's spokesman, Mike Nowatzki, said: "The governor supports the actions requested by the majority leader."

Neither Larsen, who is from Minot, nor Facebook responded to requests for comment.

Facebook has been under fire from politicians, regulators and privacy advocates around the world over problems ranging from election security to what many consider its disproportionate, often negative influence on society.

While Facebook has said it's stepping up efforts to remove content that violates its rules, it has also said it's not the company's role to fact check or judge the veracity of what politicians say.

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This story has been corrected to show Omar was born in 1982, not 1984.

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MacPherson contributed to this story from Bismarck, North Dakota.

Comments (3)
renegademax
renegademax

Of course Larsen's Facebook post was nonsense, however, Omar is anti-Semitic and has aligned herself with groups that support BDS, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, CAIR, etc., etc. Perhaps she should more respect her host nation, and yes I'm well aware of the justified anger that term can engender, than issue forth inflammatory rhetoric.

2 Replies

jazzme
jazzme

Just because she apposes many of Israelis positions and policies regarding Palestinian natiohood (2 state solution) or intergration (1 state dolution) does not make her antisemitic. IMHO Netanyahu and his tight wing policies border on fascism. I like the one state solution intergrate don't segregate.

renegademax
renegademax

Except you and I both know that 1 state will never happen. Natanyahu is a corrupt asshole, and I hope he goes to jail, but contrary to what you believe, Omar is as much of a bigot as he is.

Palestinian hatred goes as far as teaching their kids in school text books that Jews eat Muslim babies and use their blood for matza, plus we're all monkey's and should be killed on sight. Perhaps educate yourself before you post nonsense.