Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar shared her pain after news broke of her father’s death on Monday evening.
“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,” she wrote on Twitter under a photo of the two together.
According to AP, Omar shared in a statement that Mohamed died from complications relating to COVID-19. The News comes as several other members of congress mourned the loss of loved ones from the pandemic, including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) who lost her sister Velma Moody, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren‘s (D-MA) whose brother died in April due to COVID-19.
The virus continues to attack underserved members in Black and immigrant communities across America. 30,693 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Minnesota, and about 1,304 people have died from COVID-19, according to the state health department.
Omar, 37, was born in Somali and was raised primarily by her father after her mother died when she was two. The family remained in Africa, but fled to a refugee camp in Kenya due to the Somalia’s civil war, The New York Times reports. In 1995 when Omar was a young teen, her father moved the family to America, where they first settled in Arlington, Virginia, eventually settling in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Minneapolis became a refuge for the family, finding community among the large group of Somali refugees who fled to the city looking for advancement and economic opportunity. Mohamed, who was a schoolteacher in Somali, shifted in order to provide for his family by becoming a taxi driver and a postal worker. Omar eventually obtained her citizenship as a teen.
Several of her colleagues have expressed sympathy and comfort towards Rep. Omar in her time of grief, including Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) of The Squad, a group of progressive minority congresswomen who continue to fight back in the face of Trump and his adverse policies.
Omar is rightfully private about her personal life, but she broke her code sharing a tender moment with her father on the night before her swearing-in-ceremony in 2019.
“As we exited our planes, we realized that him and I had not returned (to) that same airport since the day we first landed here as refugees,” she told CNN.
“It’s a very — really overwhelming and emotional time for us,” Omar added. “I don’t think — as my dad said, he had high hopes for us about the opportunities we would have when we came to this country. But I don’t think he imagined that some day his baby would be going to Congress just 20 years after we arrived here.”
We send our condolences to Rep. Omar and her family during this very difficult time.