Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota was criticized by the government of India for wading into the hot-button issue of the Kashmir region.
The region is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan, but – after three wars in the past 75 years – each governs a piece in an uneasy deal.
Omar visited the Muslim-majority region on Thursday and said it needs more attention, according to Reuters.
At the place where she is standing, it is written (translation):
On the Pakistan side-
“What is our relation with Kashmir
That there is no God but Allah”
On the Indian side-
“Religion does not teach us to fight.
We are all Indians and India is our country”
Shame on Ilhan Omar.
— Not So Sweet Tweet (@NotSoSwtTwt) April 21, 2022
“I don’t believe that it [Kashmir] is being talked about to the extent it needs to in Congress but also with the administration,” the Muslim lawmaker said amid a rare visit by a U.S. lawmaker to the de facto border dividing the part of Kashmir held by Pakistan and that held by India.
“On the question of Kashmir, we held a hearing in the foreign affairs committee [of Congress] to look at the reports of human rights violations,” Omar said.
During her tour of Pakistan, Omar met with leaders of the Muslim-majority nation.
India was not impressed with Omar’s foray into foreign affairs.
India tears into ‘narrow-minded’ Ilhan Omar for visiting Kashmir region while visiting Pakistan https://t.co/CknjRsmhSo
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) April 21, 2022
“Let me just say that if such a politician wishes to practice her narrow-minded politics at home, that’s her business,” said Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for India’s foreign ministry.
“But violating our territorial integrity and sovereignty … makes this ours, and we think the visit is condemnable.”
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Indicating which side Omar supported, Pakistan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said in a statement that she “appreciated the strong voice that Congresswoman Ilhan has raised against Indian atrocities in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu Kashmir and for the people of Palestine.”
Omar said she “appreciated the role played by Pakistan” in combating Islamophobia, according to The Associated Press.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, @IlhanMN and @Ilhan, needs to know: Kashmir is the legal, ethical, moral, geographical, historical, ancestral, and spiritual part of India and Bharat. No exceptions. It is not now and has never been an Islamic republic, and Islam has no claim to it. https://t.co/wDMZ5nP6Qe
— Robert Spencer روبرت سبنسر रॉबर्ट स्पेंसर 🇺🇸 (@jihadwatchRS) April 21, 2022
Omar also met with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who said he appreciated Omar’s “courage of convictions and her political struggle.”
Omar has said in the past that the U.S. government has been far too hesitant to attack Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government over human rights issues.