A 10-year military veteran, Somali refugee, and GOP candidate, Shukri Abdirahman said she’s running for Congress because the United States is heading to socialism under the policies of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and the Biden administration. She’s confident she can defeat Omar in a traditionally strong blue district—Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District.

“I have served in the military for over 10 years to pay my country back for giving me a safe haven,” Abdirahman told The Epoch Times. “But right now, this is why I’m running—is seeing the state of my country head to a socialist dictatorship that I ran away from in Somalia.”

Both Abdirahman and Omar fled Somalia due to the same civil war, and both spent about four years in a refugee camp in Kenya before coming to the United States. But Abdirahman went down a different path from Omar after arriving in America. She served in the military for over 10 years and became a combat veteran in the Iraq War.

Abdirahman said big government’s presence in people’s lives, such as in vaccine and mask mandates, freedoms being trampled, and voices being censored, reminded her of the socialist Somalia where she came from.

“This is not the America that I came to seek safe haven,” Abdirahman said. “When you think about America, you think about freedom, you think about a prosperous future. That’s not what’s happening.”

She said in her district, which covers the entire city of Minneapolis, people are scared to go to buy groceries, own a car, or take kids to the park because of surging crimes.

According to an annual report (pdf) from the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Minneapolis saw violent crimes surge across the city, with a record number of murders in 2020.

“[Omar] has completely neglected the needs of the community,” said Abdirahman. “She decided that the best thing for the community that is suffering these crimes is to take away the very police that is supposed to provide safety and combat crime.”

After the death of George Floyd, Omar publicly called for “completely” dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department. Later she explained that she didn’t mean crimes shouldn’t be investigated. She said it’s impossible to reform a “rotten-to-the-root” police department and it can only be rebuilt.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) speaks to a crowd gathered for a march to defund the Minneapolis Police Department in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 6, 2020. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

On Feb. 1, Omar announced her intention for a third term.

“When I first ran for this office there was one thing I kept coming back to. Something I said to myself and to the voters over and over: I believe that a better world is possible,” Omar said in a statement. “I still believe that. I still believe in a world where the working class is given what they’re owed. A world where we address the economic and income inequality issues that are holding American workers back and systematically forcing families into poverty.”

Abdirahman said Omar has fallen to the far left and doesn’t realize that socialism doesn’t work.

“She’s just basically using the same rhetoric as the liberal left that is destroying our country, driving us apart, pitting us against each other by class, race, gender,” Abdirahman said.

“She’s just looking to buy votes just like the liberal left, shoving ‘free this, free that’ to everyone,” said Abdirahman. “Where’s that money gonna come from? It has to come from someone.”

Omar’s office hasn’t responded to a request for comment.

On Omar’s campaign website for the 2020 election, Omar called for free health care for all, homes for all, tuition-free public education, and cancelling all student debts.

Ilhan Omar Is Beatable

Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District is a heavy blue district where no Republicans have won the seat since 1963. Omar won her 2018 and 2020 elections by 78 percent and 64.3 percent of the votes, respectively. However, Abdirahman said she’s confident she can defeat Omar.

“I definitely think that [Omar] is defeatable,” Abdirahman told The Epoch Times.

“I am very confident that we are changing minds and hearts, but also bringing forth true conservative communities to vote for the GOP party,” said Abdirahman.

Abdirahman said her campaign has been doing community engagement and found that many people are truly conservative in their values.

“They are tired of the liberals’ invasion in their communities, threatening their ways of life, ways of values,” said Abdirahman. “Like the Muslim community, the indoctrination of their children taking place in schools, their children falling into crime and drugs.”

Abdirahman is also a Muslim. But unlike Omar who has been criticized for her antisemitic remarks, Abdirahman said she supports Israel.

Abdirahman pointed out that Omar has relied heavily on the Somali communities’ votes.

“And you got to keep in mind that as a Somali person candidate like herself, I’m going to be splitting, if anything, with the Somali community and the Horn of Africa’s votes this time around, which she counted heavily on in the past,” said Abdirahman.

Currently, Abdirahman has two GOP competitors for the Aug. 9 primary, Cicely Davis and Royce White. But she said she’s the only candidate that can beat Omar because “my background speaks for itself.”

Another advantage is that she speaks Somali and some Arabic, so she could engage with communities her GOP counterparts could not.

On Feb. 9, Abdirahman announced on her campaign website that she raised over $100,000 in the first week soliciting donations.

According to data from Federal Election Commission, Omar’s campaign received over $1.6 million in donations during 2021, but after expenses the cash on hand was about $438,000.

“It is definitely a time that we can expect a different outcome, and the people will be taking their voices to the polls. They are silently suffering now, but change will come,” said Abdirahman.

Harry Lee


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