Minnesota Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is mourning the loss of her father, Nur Omar Mohamed. Late Monday night, Omar announced "with tremendous sadness and pain" that her father died from coronavirus complications. In a statement, she said that "no words can describe what he meant to me and all who knew him." She requested "respect and privacy during this time." She added an Arabic phrase from the Quran that translates to, "Surely we belong to God and to him shall we return."
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
Surely we belong to God and to him shall we return.
It is with tremendous sadness and pain to say goodbye to my father, Nur Omar Mohamed. No words can describe what he meant to me and all who knew and loved him. pic.twitter.com/gb7q0gMXG2— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 16, 2020
According to The New York Times, Omar’s father is preceded in death by her mother, who died when the congresswoman was just 2. When Omar was 8, she and her extended family fled Somalia’s civil war and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya before seeking asylum in the United States in 1995. The family eventually settled in Minneapolis, and Omar became a citizen in 2000, when she was 17. In 2018, she became one of the first two Muslim women and the first Somali-American elected to Congress. On the eve of her swearing-in ceremony in January 2019, she shared a photo of herself and her father walking through Virginia's Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, an image that gained media attention.
Reflecting on the "very emotional moment" that she and her father had step foot into the airport, Omar told CNN that her father "had high hopes for us about the opportunities we would have when we came to this country." She added that she didn't think "he imagined that some day his baby would be going to Congress just 20 years after we arrived here.""
23 years ago, from a refugee camp in Kenya, my father and I arrived at an airport in Washington DC.January 2, 2019
The death of Omar's father marks the third family member of lawmaker to die of the coronavirus. In May, California Rep. Maxine Waters revealed that her sister, Velma Moody, died from coronavirus. Just a month prior, former Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren announced that her oldest brother, Donald Reed Herring, had died after contracting the virus.
The United States surpassed 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases earlier this month. As of this posting, a Johns Hopkins database recorded more than 2.1 million confirmed cases is the U.S. and more than 116,000 deaths. Globally, there are more than 8 million cases and 437,000 deaths.