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Representative Ilhan Omar Files For Divorce From Husband For Second Time

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Who Is Ilhan Omar? New Details On The First Somali-American Elected To Congress

Somali-American Ilhan Omar made history on in November 2018  when she became the first Muslim woman to win an elected office in the United States. Omar won her race for Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District. She will also be the first Somali-American in Congress. The 36-year-old Congresswoman-elect was born in Mogadishu in 1981. She grew up in Somalia as the youngest of seven children. Her mom died when she was very young and she and her siblings were raised by her father and grandfather. Now news is breaking that Representativ Omar has filed for divorce. Who is Ilhan Omar?

1. She is a former refugee

The civil war in Somalia forced Ilhan and her family to flee the country when she was eight-years-old. The Omar family spent four years in a refugee camp in Mombasa, Kenya with tens of thousands of other people. In 1995, the Omars moved to the United States via Arlington, Virginia. That same year they moved to and settled in Minnesota. Ilhan learned to speak English in three months by watching TV. While growing up, her father and grandfather stressed the importance of democracy. She attended Edison High School in Minneapolis. She graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in political science and international studies in 2011. 


A post shared by Ilhan Omar for Congress (@ilhanmn) on Nov 5, 2018 at 9:42am PST

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2. Political beginnings

Ilhan first began making waves in politics two years ago when she became the first Somali-American elected to Minnesota's state legislature. She defeated a 22-term Democratic incumbent. 


A post shared by Ilhan Omar for Congress (@ilhanmn) on Aug 31, 2018 at 6:24pm PDT

3. Firsts

Not only is Ilhan be the first Somali-Americam to be elected to national office, she is joining Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American who won her Democratic primary in Michigan and ran unopposed as one of the two first Muslim women in Congress. 

4. Her district

Minnesota has the largest population of Somalis outside of Somalia. Minneapolis has a neighborhood known as "Little Mogadishu." Omar won the race for the district that includes Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs, which is a left-leaning district. She beat Republican candidate Jennifer Zeilinski, a conservative health care worker.


A post shared by Ilhan Omar for Congress (@ilhanmn) on Sep 17, 2018 at 12:06pm PDT

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5. Her platform

Omar is a progressive Democrat. She advocates for a living wage, access to affordable housing and health care, the abolishment of ICE, protection of DACA and debt forgiveness for people struggling to pay back their student loans. She ran a grassroots campaign with more than 1,000 volunteers who were able to reach out to 100,000 voters in her district. She plans to fight President Trump's proposed travel ban, which would restrict her from traveling.


A post shared by Ilhan Omar for Congress (@ilhanmn) on Sep 14, 2018 at 5:36am PDT

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6. Her personal life

In 2002, Ilhan got engaged to Ahmed Hirsi. They applied for a marriage license but never went through with finalizing it. They had two children together. Ilhan and Hirsi separated in 2008. In 2009, Omar married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, a British citizen. In 2011, they separated and had a faith based divorce. In 2017, they legally divorced. In 2011, she reconciled with Hirsi and married him in a traditional ceremony despite the fact that she was still legally married to Elmi according to Minnesota state law. They had a third child in 2012. They legally married in 2018. The Omar-Hirsi family lives in Minneapolis.


A post shared by Ilhan Omar for Congress (@ilhanmn) on Nov 5, 2018 at 5:13pm PST

7. Media fame

In 2017, Time named Omar one of its Firsts: Women Who Are Changing The World. The report detailed 46 women who were breaking barriers in their fields. Ilhan was on the cover of the September 18 issue of Time. In February 2018, Vogue named her family one of the "five families who are changing the world as we know it." A 2018 documentary by Norah Shapiro called Time for Ilhan was selected for the Tribeca Film Festival and the Mill Valley Film Festival. 

8. She's faced a lot of scrutiny

Ilhan Omar is part of a group of female democratic Reps who have faced a lot of backlash from President Trump and his supporters. Omar, alongside Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, are fighting for progressive values and goals. In July, Trump tweeted that the four women — who are all U.S. citizens and women of color — should "go back" to the "places from which they came."

9. Her divorce

Ilhan Omar has reportedly moved out of the home she shares with her husband Ahmed Hirsi and filed for divorce. In a statement given to TMZ,  a rep for Omar said:  "As with all marriages, this is intensely personal and a difficult time for their family. For years, Ilhan and Ahmed have been the object of speculation and inuendo from political opponents and the media. This has taken a significant toll on Ilhan, Ahmed, and their three children. Just like any other family navigating this kind of transition, Ilhan wishes to have their privacy respected for themselves and their children and will not be commenting any further."

The divorce filing cites an "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship." She is seeking joint legal and physical custody of their three children and want spousal support denied on both sides. 

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.