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Muslim nations funding Ilhan Omar’s anti-India, anti-Israel rhetoric

Washington D.C., August 19:  US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s 2022 visits to the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and the Doha World Cup, marked by her anti-India and anti-Israel stance, have come under scrutiny due to revelations of financial support from both Pakistan and Qatar.

The annual House financial disclosure report has shed light on the sources of funding for her controversial trips, leading to questions about her alignment with foreign interests and her frequent criticisms of India and Israel.

Omar’s rare visit to PoK, during which she called for increased US attention on the dispute and for US Congress to intervene, drew ire from India.

The financial disclosure has now revealed that the Pakistani government sponsored her visit, covering lodging and food expenses for the April 18-24, 2022, trip.

In a response to Omar’s POK visit, an Indian spokesperson condemned the visit saying it reflected her ‘narrow-minded’ politics.

In addition to the Pakistan-funded visit, it has come to light that Qatar also played a role in financing Omar’s activities. Her visit to Qatar was supported by the Qatari government, encompassing a stay that coincided with the US men’s team’s opening World Cup match against Wales.

The disclosure of financial backing from both Pakistan and Qatar raises concerns about Omar’s advocacy and stance on international issues.

Critics argue that her continuous biased and politically motivated criticism of India and Israel for the treatment of their religious minorities—while receiving funding from nations with their own human rights controversies undermines her credibility as a human rights advocate.

Omar has remained categorically silent on the persecution faced by Hindu and Christian minorities in Pakistan, as well as Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism in Kashmir and other parts of India.

She also has refrained from addressing Qatar’s record of human rights abuses and its support for the terrorist group Hamas in the conflict with Israel.

Sushant Sareen, Senior Fellow at ORF, expressed skepticism about Pakistan’s allocation of funds for a US lawmaker’s visit while the nation is seeking global aid. He urged for “better resource utilization” for domestic development in Pakistan.

Omar’s persistent criticism of India and Israel, while being funded by governments with questionable records, calls into question her commitment to unbiased human rights advocacy. The disclosure suggests that her stance is politically motivated rather than a genuine effort to address human rights concerns.

Omar has been very vocal about the foreign influence on American policy-making.  However, financial ties between Omar and these nations have cast a shadow on her motives and the extent of her independence from foreign influence.

Omar’s alleged connections with Turkey and President Erdogan have frequently surfaced in the media. She has defied her party in Congress votings several times, aligning her votes in a manner that could align with Turkey’s interests.

The state-run Turkish news channel TRT has openly encouraged readers to contribute to Omar’s campaign fund.

These instances suggest that beyond Pakistan and Qatar, Omar has received funding from other Muslim nations to further their agendas through her Congress membership.

As the first naturalized African-born citizen in the US Congress, Omar’s alignment with foreign interests and her vocal anti-India and anti-Israel rhetoric spark debates about the role she plays in promoting agendas that are contrary to established US allies and even to US interests.

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