“Art & architecture? It was a house of worship.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., on Monday was again criticized for her choice of words in addressing a tragedy.
Having just endured a public shaming for characterizing the Sept. 11 attacks as “some people did something,” Omar botched her response to a blaze that partly destroyed the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris – at least according to some critics.
On Monday, a fire broke out in the iconic church, destroying the spire and much of the roof. A firefighter and two police officers were injured during the massive 12-hour effort that managed to extinguish the flames.
As the fire was still raging, Omar praised “this wonder” for its contributions to art and architecture. She also expressed support for the people of Paris and said she was praying for the first responders.
Art and architecture have a unique ability to help us connect across our differences and bring people together in important ways. Thinking of the people of Paris and praying for every first responder trying to save this wonder.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) April 15, 2019
What Omar did not reference was Notre Dame’s importance as a Catholic symbol. Commenters on the right quickly took note.
National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch offered Omar a brief lesson on Christianity.
Well, the “architecture” that the art was housed in is a cathedral. While Biblically Christ is wherever His people are, Notre Dame is a significant and storied icon of faith. https://t.co/bsckz26qHe
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) April 16, 2019
Former Republican congressman and radio host Joe Walsh suggested Omar should have acknowledged that Notre Dame is a house of worship.
Art & architecture? It was a house of worship. A Catholic Cathedral.
It wouldn’t have been difficult for you to acknowledge that. https://t.co/BUW4i3pFUU
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) April 16, 2019
Writer Noah Pollak said Omar’s tweet was “disrespectful toward Catholics specifically and Christians in general.” He also invoked her record of anti-Israel statements, which have sometimes been redolent of anti-Semitism.
This is disrespectful toward Catholics specifically and Christians in general. Notre Dame represents a bit more than “art and architecture” — lest anyone think Omar merely enjoys dissing Jews. https://t.co/q116xtcZ8j
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) April 16, 2019
A number of commenters compared Omar’s ode to Notre Dame to her 9/11 statement, which she made during a March 23 address to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“Some people did something” once again in Paris, right Ilhan Omar?
This time they destroyed the beautiful, historic Notre Dame cathedral.
France, you knew they were snakes before you let them in.pic.twitter.com/6Kzzssbnkd
— Maverick (@RodStryker) April 15, 2019
Like in previous cases, some liberals rallied to Omar’s defense, expressing disgust at what they characterized as bigoted attacks on the Muslim congresswoman.
This is crazy. Ilhan Omar wrote a sympathetic tweet about Notre Dame and, in response, got compared to ISIS. 1,800 retweets. https://t.co/LatunToKka
— Matt Pearce 🦅 (@mattdpearce) April 16, 2019
Conservatives have dismissed such objections as identity politics, and attempts to avoid addressing the substance of their complaints. Rep. Dan Crenshaw last week faulted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., for suggesting he did not have the standing to call out Omar’s remarks about 9/11, which he had deemed “unbelievable.”
“One of the most disappointing things of this entire controversy that I’ve seen is these members from New York, how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Max Rose, [are] trying to deflect the attention from Omar by attacking me — claiming I’m not for 9/11 first responders,” the wounded military veteran told NBC News.
“This is a really dishonest attack,” the wounded military veteran told NBC News. “I’m going to tell you how I’m for 9/11 victims and 9/11 first-responders. I’m the guy who went overseas to make sure this never happened again, to take the fight to the enemy who committed these attacks.”
By the way: Liberals have repeatedly faulted President Donald Trump for making allegedly meaningful omissions when it comes to religion or race. Many criticized him for speaking out about the Notre Dame fire but remaining silent about attacks of houses of worship in other parts of the world, or against black churches in the United States.
In 2017, Trump was also accused of anti-Semitism for issuing a White House statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not explicitly acknowledged the genocide’s anti-Jewish nature.