Omar Jamal, Steve Hunegs, Mohamed Ahmed, and Avi Olitzky agree on the characterization of language Omar used: When Omar talked about Jews "hypnotizing" the world, it was anti-Semitic. When she said "American support for Israel", "all about the Benjamin's baby," referring to $ 100 notes, it was anti-Semitic. And when they questioned whether American Jews had loyalty to Israel, they were anti-Semitic.
Omar's office did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
"I do not think we were looking into her heart who is the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakota (JCRC).
Hunegs was one of several faith leaders who met with Omar, the first Somali-American representative in Congress and one of two Muslim women last year.
Olitzky, a senior rabbi, said he was contacted by some of his many congregants
"Both he and."
"Congresswoman Omar shared with me that she understood our pain and listened to that pain." Hunegs said they had been approached by local Muslims, including Somalis, to help them learn how to help their Jewish neighbors in Minneapolis.
Jamal said the excitement of Omar's "We can reinforce the good relationships that exist already, because in a sense people are kidding and tired of it and they want to move forward and find ways to work together," Hunegs said election was "beyond imagination" for him and other Somali and Somali refugees who had fled to America. But what has happened since has been disappointing.
Instead of farther dividing them and pitting one group against the other, "Jamal said."
Ahmed dismissed the argue that Omar is just criticizing the Israeli government. "
" I speak as a friend of Israel and a brother to the Palestinians by faith, "he said ,
Ahmed and Jamal acknowledged their views were not echoed throughout the entire local Somali Muslim community and could even stir anger. Ahmed says people in his own family do not see things the way he does when it comes to Rep. Omar.
But he and Jamal hope they can move on to more local issues in Congress and at home.
"We have other concerns … in this country at this moment," Jamal said.
The disappointment among them is palpable.
Hunegs said: "It's unfortunate and, almost in the classical sense, tragic because it has the capability of being an important bridge builder."
That's part of what's frustrating to one of Rep. Omar's supporters.
"I "We're throwing the baby out with the bathwater here if we just tear down as a truly incredible political leader." Minneapolis resident Andrea Halverson says. "And basically turn this into a smear campaign.
Halverson says it's a distraction.
But many are worried the distraction will keep it.
Ahmed said: "It's only been two I'm exhausted. "
The local leaders hope Omar makes up for what they see as a rough start in Congress.
" Words can not cancel words, actions cancel out words, "Olitzky said. "And so, we continue to look to Rep. Omar to cancel the words that she's already shared, with action."
Both Hunegs and Ahmed commented on white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke.
"When David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan agrees with you, you're not doing something right," Ahmed said.