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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

False Quote Attributed to Rep.-Elect Ilhan Omar

Q: A meme circulating online attributes an inflammatory remark about white men to congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar. Did she actually say that?

A: No. The meme falsely attributes a fictitious quote to Omar.


Ilhan Omar was one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress this month.

The Somali-American, who will represent Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House, has not shied away from her faith. She recently announced plans to challenge a 181-year-old ban on hats in the House so that she can wear her religious headscarf.

But a meme distributed through posts on Facebook uses Omar’s religion to spread a fictitious and inflammatory quote, juxtaposing the falsehood alongside an actual statement she made last year.

The meme, which shows Omar on the Sept. 18, 2017, cover of Time magazine, erroneously asserts that she said, “I think all white men should be put in chains as slaves because they will never submit to Islam.”

We could find no such quote by Omar in her Time interview — part of the magazine’s series, “FIRSTS: Women Who Are Changing the World.” Nor could we find evidence that Omar had said that elsewhere.

Omar, currently a Minnesota state representative, did make the other statement included in the meme: “I am America’s hope and the president’s nightmare.” Omar said that during a July 2017 interview with Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah.

The meme was also shared widely on Twitter, where Omar responded to such tweets, including one that labeled her a “terrorist.”

“Who said facts mattered?” she wrote, with an emoji shrug.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on the social media network.


Ilhan Omar – Fighting for a better life for all Americans – Extended Interview.” The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Comedy Central. 13 Jul 2017.

Meet Ilhan.” IlhanOmar.com. Accessed 19 Nov 2018.

Omar, Ilhan (@IlhanMN). “No one puts a scarf on my head but me. It’s my choice—one protected by the first amendment. And this is not the last ban I’m going to work to lift.” Twitter. 17 Nov 2018.

Omar, Ilhan (@IlhanMN). “Who said facts mattered?” Twitter. 18 Nov 2018.

TIME FIRSTS | Ilhan Omar.” Time. Accessed 19 Nov 2018.

Watkins, Eli. “First Muslim women in Congress: Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.” CNN. 6 Nov 2018.

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A meme claims Ilhan Omar said that "all white men should be put in chains as slaves because they will never submit to Islam.”
Sunday, November 18, 2018