Omar endorses open letter to Star Tribune that calls editorial board ‘racist’ and ‘Islamophobic’

The letter criticizes the paper's coverage of Omar, proposed Minneapolis City Charter amendments, and the Minneapolis mayoral race.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Rep. Ilhan Omar has endorsed an open letter to the Star Tribune that accuses their editorial board of “racism” and “Islamophobia.”

The piece, titled “An Open Letter to the Minneapolis Star Tribune,” blasts the paper for numerous perceived transgressions against “people of color.”

It begins by criticizing the Star Tribune for reposting a New York Times op-ed on Israel’s Iron Dome by Bret Stephens, which included an image of Israel’s defense system intercepting a Hamas rocket. The paper also changed the headline of the article to: “Omar, ‘squad,’ launch another anti-Israel strike.”

The letter further criticizes the paper’s coverage of Rep. Omar, proposed Minneapolis City Charter amendments, and the Minneapolis mayoral race.

“Our concern … is with Star Tribune’s pattern of silencing and smearing communities of color — overseen by a team of overwhelmingly white and male managers and editors. In fact, of the 12 members of the editorial board, only one is Black and none are Muslim. Hardly representative of the city they serve,” the open letter reads.

“The editorial team decided what was necessary was to draw a direct comparison between Ilhan Omar — Minnesota’s first, and only, Black, Muslim, immigrant Congressperson — and Middle East terrorism,” the open letter adds. “Let’s be clear: equating Muslims with terrorism is something our Muslim brothers and sisters face on an almost daily basis and is the textbook example of Islamophobia.”

Appending the open letter is a field for people to add their “signatures” if they support its calls to “increase the diversity” of the Star Tribune editorial board, particularly with “black, Muslim, and female voices,” and to end “the use [of] loaded, racist or Islamophobic language,” among other things.

Rep. Omar tweeted out a link to the open letter on Friday, commenting that she was “proud of the Minnesotans who led and signed this letter calling for systematic changes to their personnel and policies.”

“I have great respect for journalists (including many reporters at the Star Tribune). But I will not stand by while an (overwhelmingly white and male) editorial board continues to use divide and conquer tactics against communities of color in our city,” she added.


Evan Stambaugh

Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.