A Somali community leader in Minneapolis says House member Rep. Ilhan Omar’s second husband was in fact her brother, refueling accusations that surfaced last year.
The Daily Mail quoted Abdihakim Osman, 40, on Thursday as confirming that Omar, a Somali refugee who arrived in Minnesota in 1997, told friends years ago that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, whom she was married to from 2009 to 2017, was actually her brother and that their marriage took place so he could remain in the United States.
Osman claims the freshman congresswoman told friends that the man who became her second husband was actually her brother.
“No one knew there had been a wedding until the media turned up the marriage certificate years later,” Osman said.
Omar has previously denied the accusations, dismissing them as “disgusting lies,” “baseless, absurd rumors,” and motivated by Islamophobia. More recently Omar, 37, has stopped responding to the claims, and a spokesman told the Daily Mail that she doesn’t comment on her personal life or family.
“The Congresswoman is focused on the work her constituents sent her to Washington to accomplish,” the spokesman said.
The claims of marrying her brother have largely centered on allegations that her ex-husband and her father, Nur Said Elmi, share the same surname. According to The St. Cloud Times, Somali children are usually given their father’s first name as a middle name and their father’s first name as a last name.
In September, Omar deleted an Instagram post which referred to her father as Nur Said, and her sister’s 1997 marriage certificate lists her father’s name as Nur Said Elmi.
The latest revelation comes nearly a month after the New York Post reported that the FBI was reviewing claims that Elmi is her brother.
Omar married Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi in a Islamic religious ceremony in 2002, but it was not registered with the state. The couple had two children. In 2009, she married Elmi, who went on to study at North Dakota State.
The congresswoman claims she split with Elmi in 2011, when she also said he returned to England.
Omar had a third child with Hirsi in 2012, a year in which college officials said and social media indicated Elmi was still in the United States.
Elmi and Omar were divorced in 2017, a year before Omar and Hirsi were remarried in a civil ceremony.
Osman said Elmi arrived in Minneapolis in the late 2000s.
‘[Hirsi] and Ilhan both told me it was Ilhan’s brother and he had been living in London, but he was mixing with what were seen as bad influences that the family did not like,” Osman said. ““So they sent him to Minneapolis as ‘rehab.’”
Hirsi and Omar divorced in November after rumors surfaced that she embarked on an alleged affair with a Democratic consultant.
- Rep. Ilhan Omar speaks to supporters at the airport in Minneapolis St. Paul, Minnesota, on July 18, 2019.: Twitter