Cab Driver in Rep. Ilhan Omar Incident Sentenced

The man who verbally attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar in a D.C. cab has been punished by a local judge.

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Ilhan Omar
Alpha News MN/Preya Samsundar

WASHINGTON — The cab driver involved in a hate crime incident against Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL-Minneapolis) back in December has finally received his punishment.

Omar wrote on Facebook:

“I believe in restorative justice, so I am pleased that the judge’s ruling includes classes on cultural sensitivity for Mr. Onuma. Bigotry is a product of ignorance and by educating people, we can move toward respect and understanding. When something like this happens, it can be difficult to come forward. I hope by sharing my experience and the judge’s ruling, it can prevent this from happening to someone else.”

Shortly after her win in November as the first Somali legislator elected to any office in the United States, Alpha News reported on an incident where Omar was verbally attacked by a D.C. cab driver.

Omar, who went to D.C. for training at the White House, travelled with her sister, Sahra Noor, in a cab to switch hotels. Omar told news outlets in December that the cab driver, an East African man, threatened to remove her hijab and called her “ISIS.”

In a post on Facebook, Omar wrote at the time:

“I got in a cab and became subjected to the most hateful, derogatory, islamophobic, sexist taunts and threats I have ever experienced. The cab driver called me ISIS and threatened to remove my hijab, I wasn’t really sure how this encounter would end as I attempted to rush out of the cab and retrieve my belongs [sic].”

A press release issued by Omar’s office announced that the cab driver, Uka Onuma was found guilty of discrimination and the use of offensive language. The judge ruled Onuma had to take anger management classes, cultural sensitivity classes, suspended his license as a cab driver for 45 days, and ordered him to pay $1,000 in fines.

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Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.